The chocolate producer Ferrero, which owns brands like Nutella, Kinder, and Ferrero Rocher, announced a widespread recall of some of its products due to salmonella.
The news was received with concern by consumers, mainly since the recall focused on selected Kinder batches – most of them marketed to children, and due to the close proximity of Easter. Several of the recalled products are ‘Easter Eggs’.
The Swiss food safety agency announced on Thursday that around 40 products would be recalled.
And many Swiss retailers had already removed Ferrero’s ‘children’s’ products from their shelves, including major distributors Coop, Migros, Volg and Aldi, the Keystone-SDA news agency confirmed.
Ferrero said that none of its products in Switzerland had tested positive for the bacteria, but they would voluntarily recall some of its products as a precaution.
Here’s what you need to know about the case.
Which products were recalled?
Several Kinder batches of Kinder Schokobons, Kinder Überraschung, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Mix, and Kinder Maxi Mix are in the list of products recalled. You can see a complete list here.
The company and health authorities advise people not to consume any of these products. If you have them at home, certain supermarket chains have already announced that they can be returned for a refund without the need for proof of purchase.
What is salmonella?
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause an illness called salmonellosis. The symptoms are usually diarrhoea, fever, and stomach cramps. They start from six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
In the European Union, over 91,000 cases are reported each year. Most people will recover within a few days without antibiotics, but treatment, and hospitalisation, could be needed in some cases.
The bacteria can spread to humans through contaminated foods. It is most frequently found in eggs and raw meat from pigs, turkeys, and chickens.
Safe handling of these products can prevent or reduce the risk posed by contaminated food.
What happened to cause the recall?
An outbreak of salmonella cases called the attention of the EFSA. Early this week, 134 cases had been reported, mainly among children under 10 years old.
The authorities tracked the origin of the infections to “specific chocolate products“.
The authorities launched product recalls in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the UK, while Ferrero is organising recalls in countries like Austria.
According to data from April 6th, there have been no confirmed or probable cases in Austria. Belgium has 26 potential cases, France has 20 confirmed cases, and Germany has four confirmed and three probable cases.
Have there been cases in Switzerland?
Yes, Switzerland announced its first cases on Friday, April 15th.
However, a link between these salmonella cases and Ferrero’s products had not yet been proven and was currently being investigated, Switzerland’s Food Safety Agency said on Friday, as reported by Swiss news website Watson.
Around two dozen cases were being examined more closely, it said.
Where did it all begin?
Ferrero said it has identified a genotype match between reported salmonella cases in Europe and its plant in Arlon, Belgium.
The company identified the point of origin as a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks and is currently investigating the case.
“Ferrero took actions, including the removal of the filter, and significantly increased the already high level of controls on semi-finished and finished products”, the manufacturer added.
What should I do now?
Check if you have any of the recalled products and take them back to the supermarket. If you or your family members show any symptoms of the disease, get in touch with your doctor for further information.
Most people recover from a salmonella infection in up to a week and should drink extra fluids in the meantime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rückruf – recall
Salmonellen–Erkrankungen – Salmonella sickness
Betroffene Produkten – affected products
Kunden – clients/customers