Just as Easter approached, a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak in as many as 10 countries was linked back to the popular Kinder chocolate produced by Ferrero in Belgium, necessitating a voluntary recall by the company.
So far, more than 60 cases of Salmonella in the U.K., mostly in children, have been linked to Kinder chocolate products, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency. To date, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden have also reported approximately 90 additional cases, with customers in Austria and Switzerland possibly also impacted.
As a precaution, Ferrero has recalled two products in the U.S.: Kinder Happy Moments Chocolate Assortment distributed in BJ’s Wholesale Club stores and select Costco locations in California and Nevada and Kinder Mix Chocolate Treats Confections Assortment Basket distributed in 14 Big Y Supermarket locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. There are no confirmed cases in the U.S. to date and no other Ferrero products are affected by the recall.
“We deeply regret this matter and would like to thank authorities for the ongoing collaboration and recommendations,” Ferrero said in a statement regarding the recalls. “We take food safety extremely seriously and every step we have taken has been guided by our commitment to consumer care.”
Although the recall originally covered products with best-before dates through October 7, 2022, Ferrero has extended the recall to include products manufactured at its site in Arlon, Belgium, once an additional investigation yielded new results.
A rapid outbreak assessment disclosed by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control noted the agencies linked the Salmonella strain infecting people to samples taken from a processing step involving buttermilk at the Belgium factory last December.
That investigation uncovered the presence of Salmonella with a point of origin identified as a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks. Ferraro has since removed the filter and increased the level of controls on semi-finished and finished products.
The recall in other countries includes batches of Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g and Kinder Schokobons. Currently, production at the Belgium chocolate plant is suspended as the investigation continues.