Authorities have searched a number of Ferrero sites as investigations continue into a large Salmonella outbreak.
Six facilities in Belgium and Luxembourg were targeted this week including the factory in Arlon which is believed to be where contaminated occurred. The Belgian food safety agency stopped production at the plant in early April but it could reopen this month.
The monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to Kinder chocolate has sickened almost 450 people including 122 in the United Kingdom, 118 in France as well as four in Canada and one in the United States.
Ferrero said it was cooperating with authorities as part of the investigation.
Documents and computer hardware were seized during the operation but no arrests were made, according to the Luxembourg Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The two outbreak strains of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium were identified in 10 of 81 samples taken in Ferrero’s Arlon plant in Belgium between December 2021 and January 2022.
Ferrero stepped up controls and increased sampling and testing of products and the processing environment but batches of chocolate were released to market after negative Salmonella testing.
The first patient was reported in the UK on Jan. 7, with a sampling date of Dec. 21, 2021. The UK issued a notice on a European platform on Feb. 17 and another alert on March 25. It notified the WHO on March 27.
Meanwhile, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office in France is also looking into the Salmonella outbreak linked to Ferrero with a preliminary investigation being opened.
Nicolas Neykov, the head of Ferrero France, told the newspaper Le Parisien in May that more than 3,000 tons of Kinder products have been withdrawn and the incident will cost the company “tens of millions of Euros.”
Foodwatch had previously filed a complaint in Paris against Buitoni, a Nestlé company, and Ferrero in relation to recent E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office is running a criminal inquiry into the Buitoni E. coli pizza incident which is linked to 56 cases and two deaths.
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