Ferrero has received the all-clear at a factory behind a Salmonella outbreak after no problems were found during the initial approval period.
The company revealed it had been given final authorization for production at the plant in Arlon from the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in Belgium.
The monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak from Kinder chocolate sickened more than 450 people. Children were particularly affected and many of those ill were hospitalized. People fell sick between December 2021 and June 2022.
The UK had the most patients followed by France. There were four cases in Canada and one in the United States.
Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark and Czech Republic all recorded infections as part of the outbreak.
Timeline to restart
Operations at the factory were suspended in April, which led to the recall of products made there.
In May, Ferrero asked to be allowed to produce again and in June, FASFC, also known as AFSCA or FAVV, gave conditional approval for the plant to restart. This three-month trial period involved analyzing raw materials and each batch of products before release to ensure they were safe. Investments included replacing multiple pieces of equipment and installing 300 meters of new pipeline.
Since June, operations have been under FASFC’s supervision with enhanced quality protocols and testing. This included an increased sampling plan. FASFC received the results of analyzes on raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products and all of them were satisfactory as no Salmonella was found.
The agency also visited the site several times since conditional approval was granted and inspections found no issues. FASFC added it will closely follow Ferrero with additional unannounced visits in the future.
New batches of chocolate have already reached the market. These Kinder products have a best before date of April 20, 2023 or later.
“We have learned a lot during this period and have quickly put these learnings into practice. The granting of our production license means everything is in place for our factory to produce with confidence and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again,” said Ferrero in a statement.
An investigation into the incident by the Luxembourg Public Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing.
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