Authorities have searched a number of Ferrero sites as investigations continue into a major Salmonella outbreak.
Six facilities in Belgium and Luxembourg were targeted this week, including the Arlon factory which is believed to be where the contamination occurred. Belgium’s food safety agency halted production at the factory in early April but it could reopen this month.
The monophasic outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium linked to Kinder chocolate has sickened nearly 450 people including 122 in the UK, 118 in France as well as four in Canada and one in the United States.
Ferrero said he was cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
Documents and computer equipment were seized during the operation but no arrests were made, according to the Luxembourg prosecutor’s office.
The two epidemic strains of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium were identified in 10 of 81 samples taken from the Ferrero factory in Arlon in Belgium between December 2021 and January 2022.
Ferrero has stepped up controls and increased sampling and testing of products and the processing environment, but batches of chocolate have been released after testing negative for Salmonella.
The first patient was reported in the UK on January 7, with a sample date of December 21, 2021. The UK posted a notice on a European platform on February 17 and another alert on March 25. 27.
Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutor’s office in France is also investigating the Salmonella outbreak linked to Ferrero with a preliminary investigation being opened.
Nicolas Neykov, the boss of Ferrero France, told the newspaper The Parisian in May that more than 3,000 tons of Kinder products were withdrawn and that the incident will cost the company “tens of millions of euros”.
Foodwatch previously filed a lawsuit in Paris against Buitoni, a Nestlé company, and Ferrero regarding recent outbreaks of E. coli and Salmonella.
The Paris prosecutor’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into the Buitoni E. coli pizza incident which is linked to 56 cases and two deaths.
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