The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has raised concerns that potentially contaminated chocolate produced by Ferrero could still be on sale. As many as 200 people across Europe have been sickened in an outbreak linked to the candy.

The authority said it was worried about the reach and efficacy of the product withdrawal and recall of Kinder products and reminded people that a range of Kinder Egg’s and Schoko-Bon’s should not be eaten.

Products have been recalled because of an outbreak of monophasic Salmonella typhimurium. There are 76 patients in the United Kingdom, with most of those sick being children younger than 5 years old.

Up to 200 people are affected across Europe with one patient in the United States. A total of 49 of 116 cases were hospitalized and 88 of 101 interviewed sick people in 10 countries reported eating various Ferrero chocolate products.

Implicated chocolate
Affected products are Kinder Surprise 20-gram; Kinder Surprise 20-gram x 3 pack; Kinder Surprise 100-gram; Kinder Mini Eggs 75-gram; Kinder Egg Hunt Kit 150-gram; and Kinder Schokobons 70-gram, 200-gram and 320-gram and should not be eaten regardless of best before dates.

Earlier recalls didn’t cover all dates or all of these products. The update includes all Kinder products manufactured at the Arlon site in Belgium from June 2021.

Retailers are being urged to make sure they have removed these Kinder products from store shelves.

FSA contacted local councils so they could raise awareness and inform all residents, small independent shops and franchise chain retailers about the serious recall.

Elizabeth Blaney, from Derby City Council, advised people not to take the risk.

“It’s important that any potential harmful products are removed from shelves and not sold to the public by mistake. We will be working with the Food Standards Agency to make sure retailers are made aware. If you do have any Kinder products at home please do not eat it, instead contact the Ferrero consumer careline on to obtain a full refund,” she said.

Carol Runciman, at York Council, said: “We want to advise retailers, especially smaller independent and franchise food retailers, to be aware of the product recall and to ensure that the affected products have been withdrawn and removed from sale and to be clear that members of the public are encouraged to not to buy any of these products.”

Products still on sale
Ferrero has brought in auditors to check small retailers to see if affected products remain on sale. Feedback from initial visits has found some shops selling recalled chocolate. In some cases, the company is buying the product to then discard it.

The FSA has asked Ferrero to tell the agency and relevant local authorities covering the stores where it finds product on shelves, so that councils are aware and can contact the outlets that are not complying with the product recall and withdrawal.

Stores commonly remove point of sale notices two or three weeks after a product recall but local authorities are being encouraged to tell small retailers to continue to display these notices in a prominent position to increase the likelihood of consumers seeing them.

Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “It’s crucial these products are not eaten and are discarded. Salmonella infection can be severe and many children affected in this outbreak have been very unwell and hospitalized.”

Chocolate produced in Belgium was distributed to at least 113 countries. Belgian authorities stopped production at the facility in April, and an investigation has been opened by the Luxembourg Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are updating an outbreak assessment published in April, which is expected on May 18.

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