BELGIUM – Confectionery company Ferrero has informed Belgian authorities about the detection of Salmonella at its factory site in Arlon, previously associated with a significant Salmonella outbreak in 2022.

While the exact timeline of the discovery and communication with authorities remains unclear, it is yet to be determined if the detected Salmonella strain is the same as the one responsible for the previous outbreak.

Following Ferrero’s notification, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), also known as AFSCA and FAVV, initiated an investigation.

As of now, no products have tested positive for Salmonella, and based on available information, no contaminated end products have reached consumers.

FASFC stated that it will take necessary measures promptly if any findings during the investigation require additional actions to ensure consumer protection.

Local media reports suggest that Ferrero temporarily halted affected production lines while conducting an investigation into the root cause of the positive Salmonella result. The company is committed to identifying and addressing any potential issues to prevent further contamination and ensure food safety.

Previous outbreak and factory suspension

In 2022, a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak associated with Kinder chocolate, manufactured at the Arlon factory, affected over 450 individuals. Children were particularly affected, with many requiring hospitalization.

The outbreak spanned from December 2021 to June 2022, and the majority of cases were reported in the UK and France. A few cases were also identified in Canada and the United States.

In response to the outbreak, operations at the Arlon factory were suspended in April 2022, and a widespread product recall was initiated. The potentially implicated chocolate products had been distributed to over 110 countries.

In May, Ferrero requested permission to resume production, which was conditionally approved by FASFC in June.

Following a thorough initial approval period that found no problems, the company received clearance in September 2022 to resume full operations.

The incident involving the Salmonella outbreak and its connection to the Ferrero factory remains under investigation by the Luxembourg Public Prosecutor’s Office. The authorities are likely exploring the circumstances surrounding the outbreak and evaluating potential legal implications.

Ferrero’s discovery of Salmonella at the Arlon factory underscores the importance of rigorous food safety measures and continuous monitoring.

The company is actively collaborating with authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly and implement necessary measures to safeguard consumer health. Efforts are being made to prevent any recurrence of the previous outbreak and uphold the highest standards of food safety.

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