Ferrero suspends chocolate production in Arlon, expands recall

Ferrero has announced a suspension of operations at its Arlon, Belgium, production facility according to a statement released today (April 8, 2022).

The halt in production was initiated as a result of the Belgian food safety authority (AFSCA) having suspended Ferrero’s manufacturing authorization.

In addition, the company has extended its recall to include “the entire production of Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g and Kinder Schokobons made in Arlon.”

Kinder chocolate products manufactured in the Arlon production plant have been linked to an outbreak of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium in the United Kingdom (UK) and several member countries of the European Union (EU).

As of April 8, 2022, according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), outbreak cases have been confirmed in France (25), Germany (6), Ireland (10), Luxembourg (1), Netherlands (2), Norway (1), Sweden (4), and the United Kingdom (65).

Additional probable outbreak cases are under investigation in Belgium (26) and Germany (2), for a total of 142 confirmed and probable cases.

The first outbreak case was recognized in the UK on January 7, 2002, and the first report of cases in EU countries was on February 17th.

The reported illnesses have occured mainly in children under ten years of age.


Consumers in the UK were first alerted to the problem on April 2, 2022, when the Food Standards Agency posted a recall notice for certain batches of Ferrero’s Kinder Surprise chocolate novelty products.

Since that date, Kinder chocolate products have been recalled in multiple countries within the EU, as well in Canada, the United States, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

With this most recent expansion of Ferraro’s recall, the number and scope of recall notices can be expected to increase.

Ferrero Confectionery Indonesia issued an April 7th press release advising that the Kinder chocolate products sold in Indonesia were manufactured in India and are not affected by the recalls.

Ferrero’s actions

Ferrero admitted in its April 7th recall update that the company knew about a Salmonella problem as long ago as December 15, 2021.

An internal investigation determined the origin of the contamination to be “…a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks.”

The affected products and materials were put on hold, the filter was removed, and the company increased what the news release described as its “…already high level of controls on semi-finished and finished products.”

It is unclear from the news release whether the initial finding was in an environmental sample or a finished product. Nor did the company reveal whether or not production was shut down for thorough cleaning and sanitizing after the Salmonella finding.

In its April 8th update, Ferrero acknowledged “… internal inefficiencies, creating delays in retrieving and sharing information in a timely manner.”

The Arlon facility, which accounts for 7% of the total volume of Kinder products, will remain closed pending completion of the investigation. The plant will only re-open once certified by the authorities, according to the company.

You can find additional background information on a prior Salmonella outbreak associated with chocolate novelty products in Chapter 15 of TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures. Order the digital or audiobook editions from your favorite on-line retailer, or purchase the paperback or hardcover edition from Amazon.

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Raw oysters linked to cross-border Norovirus outbreak

Oysters from British Columbia, Canada, have been linked to at least 326 cases of norovirus gastroenteritis since mid-January in four Canadian provinces and two US states.

Image courtesy of Public Health Agency of Canada

Norovirus cases linked to consumption of raw or lightly cooked oysters have been reported in British Columbia (262), Alberta (1), Saskatchewan (1), and Ontario (15), according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

On March 18, 2022, the BC Centre for Disease Control alerted restaurants and retail establishments in the province to “reports of norovirus illness associated with the consumption of raw and lightly cooked oysters,” adding that the province was investigating the illness reports.

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed 29 outbreak cases. All twenty-nine victims became ill after eating raw oysters at Travail Kitchen in Robbinsdale, MN on March 20. The oysters served were Stellar Bay Gold oysters harvested on March 10 from Deep Bay 14-8 CLF #1407063 in British Columbia, Canada.

Eighteen residents of Washington reported norovirus-like illness after eating BC oysters from harvest area BC 14-8 since March 7, 2022, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

On February 18, 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the first in a series of recalls of raw oysters harvested from “Subarea 14-8.” This harvest subarea is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and facing the west coast of Denman Island.

Additional recalls were issued through March 2022, expanding the recall to an additional subharvest area (14-15) and to multiple harvest and processing dates.

Consult the following individual recall notices for additional details on harvest dates, lot codes and product distribution.

The outbreak and product traceback investigations are ongoing, and there may be additional recalls. Follow eFoodAlert to stay informed.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a common cause of gastrointestinal illness, and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted by eating a contaminated food, or by touching a contaminated surface and then handling food without washing your hands.

Norovirus symptoms can begin as soon as 12 hours after exposure to the virus, and usually consist of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. In most cases, the illness is of short duration, lasting just a day or two.

Although the symptoms are of relatively short duration and are self-limiting, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, young children and the elderly are at risk for developing more serious complications, like dehydration.

PHAC recommends:

  • Do not eat, use, sell, or serve the recalled oysters. 
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked oysters to reduce your risk of foodborne illness and follow proper food handling practices. 
  • Cook oysters to an internal temperature of 90° Celsius (194° Fahrenheit) for a minimum of 90 seconds.
  • Discard any oysters that did not open while cooking.
  • Eat oysters right away after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.
  • Always keep raw and cooked oysters separate to avoid cross-contamination. 
  • Do not use the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked shellfish, and wash counters and utensils with soap and warm water after preparation.
  • Wash your hands well with soap before and after handling any food. Be sure to clean and sanitize cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils after preparing raw foods.

If you develop symptoms of norovirus

  • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces, and disinfect using chlorine bleach, especially after an episode of illness.
  • After vomiting or diarrhea, immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with the virus (use hot water and soap).
  • If you have been diagnosed with norovirus illness or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food or pour drinks for other people while you have symptoms, and for the first 48 hours after you recover.

Find more information on the risks associated with eating raw and undercooked food in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, available in digital, print and audiobook editions.

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Belgian chocolate linked to UK Salmonella cases

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are alerting consumers to potential Salmonella contamination in certain batches of Kinder Surprise chocolates, according to a joint news release by the two agencies.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), in cooperation with partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have documented an unspecified number of Salmonella cases across the UK that appear to be associated with the novelty item.

A number of the reported cases are in young children, according to the FSA.

Ferrero has recalled Kinder Surprise 20g and Kinder Surprise 20g x3 with best before dates between 11th July 2022 and 7th October 2022.

The recalled products were manufactured in a single factory in Belgium and were distributed in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland.

A Kinder Surprise consists of a hollow milk-chocolate egg surrounding a plastic capsule, which contains a small toy.

The FSA is advising consumers not to eat any of the products listed in the FSA alert, and urges parents and guardians of children to check if any products already in their home are affected by this recall.

The UKHSA offers the following advice to the public:

“Symptoms of salmonellosis typically resolve themselves within a few days. However, symptoms can be more severe, especially in young children and those with weakened immune systems. Anybody with concerns that they have symptoms of salmonellosis should contact their GP or call NHS 111. Salmonella can be spread from person to person, so anyone affected should adhere to good hygiene practice such as washing hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and avoiding handling food for others where possible, if you have symptoms.”

You can find additional background information on a prior Salmonella outbreak associated with chocolate novelty products in Chapter 15 of TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures. Order the digital or audiobook editions from your favorite on-line retailer, or purchase the paperback or hardcover edition from Amazon.

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“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News