Salmonella outbreak at Ferrero causes 19 hospitalisations in Belgium

Salmonella outbreak at Ferrero causes 19 hospitalisations in Belgium
Kinder chocolate eggs. Credit: Belga

The salmonella outbreak at the Ferrero factory in the Luxembourg province has already been linked to 62 infections and 19 hospitalisations in Belgium, with many young children being hospitalised for days.

On 8 April, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) withdrew authorisation for the factory of chocolate manufacturer Ferrero in Arlon, Luxembourg province, and recalled all Kinder products produced there.

This happened after dozens of people in various European countries and the United Kingdom were found to be infected with salmonella, which was linked to the Arlon factory by genetic testing of the salmonella strains.

While there was talk of 29 infections in Belgium a few weeks ago, the FASFC raised that number to 62 on Friday, but added that "no significant increase in the number of infections is expected."

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Of the 62 cases, the regional health services were able to reach 44 people. "19 of them were hospitalised for one to five days," said FASFC spokesperson Hélène Bonte. "On average, they were 6 years old, the oldest was 47. The main symptoms remain diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever. Children are often sicker than adults."

Currently, a complete cleaning operation is taking place in the factory, as Ferrero applied to restart production on 13 June. If the company gets the green light, there will be a three-month trial period, followed by an evaluation.

"The impact was enormous," said Federal Minister of Agriculture David Clarinval in a press release. "Especially for the many employees of the company. We are working on a quick reopening, which will be very positive news for the company, the employees and the candy lovers."

An investigation into the outbreak has been launched by the Public Prosecutor of Luxembourg.

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