A factory owned by Ferrero that produces Kinder chocolate products has been ordered to close following links to dozens of salmonella cases.
It comes after all Kinder Surprise, Kinder Surprise Maxi, Kinder Mini Eggs and Kinder Schokobons products that were manufactured at the site in Belgium were recalled.
Ferrero extended its initial recall of products with best-before dates up to 7 October 2022 to include all Kinder products manufactured at the Arlon factory since June.
Belgium’s food safety authority, the AFSCA, said the factory was ordered to close after the company could not provide complete information for its investigation.
Kinder chocolate has been linked to suspected salmonella cases in the UK, Germany, France and Belgium.
In the UK, an outbreak of salmonella linked to Kinder Surprise eggs has infected more than 60 people, mostly young children.
Belgian agriculture minister David Clarinval said in a statement: “Such a decision is never taken lightly, but the current circumstances make it necessary. The food security of our citizens can never be neglected.”
Ferrero, which also owns Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Tic Tac, and Thorntons Continental, recalled some of its Kinder products from US shops on Thursday over potential salmonella contamination.
On Friday evening, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned consumers that none of the products that have been recalled should be eaten no matter what their best before date is.
It added that the packaging of the recalled products may not refer to the Belgium factory where they were produced and urged consumers to check them against the products listed in the recall notice.
Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, said: “Consumers should follow the advice in the latest recall notice, which details all of the products which may pose a risk.
“We have emphasized to the business and the authorities in Belgium the importance of taking as precautionary an approach to their recall as possible and trust that they will continue to put consumers’ needs first in any action they take.
“We continue to work closely with UK and international partners, including the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Food Standards Scotland, to establish how this outbreak started and make sure all necessary steps have been taken to prevent further illness.”
Customers can contact Ferrero directly for a full refund. Supermarkets and shops will take the listed products off the shelves and put up notices to warn customers.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection can be spread from person to person and can cause serious or severe illness in children or elderly people.
Dr Lesley Larking of the UKHSA said earlier this week that anyone with symptoms of salmonella, which include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps, should contact their GP or call NHS 111.
She added that 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”.