Since the end of March, the number of patients affected by salmonellosis, whose symptoms resemble those of gastroenteritis, has continued to rise, with cases being detected in nine European countries.
The first warning dates back to March 23, when British authorities told the Italian group that its products could be the source of salmonella contamination.
But according to European health watchdogs, the first case detected in England dates back to December 21, with no link made to Kinder chocolates.
“So what did Ferrero do between December and March? asks Camille Dorioz, campaign manager at Foodwatch, who also wonders why the recall of products in France was only ordered on April 4th.
The French branch of the confectioner “was only alerted by the British authorities on March 30,” the management replies.
Ferrero claims to have identified and quarantined lots contaminated with Salmonella at its Belgian plant on December 15 and said it had taken hygiene measures to eliminate the presence of the bacterium.
The Belgian health authorities were not notified at the time, we report to the pastry chef.
“The investigation is ongoing and aims to understand why people became ill when the products were blocked,” we at Ferrero France explain about the investigations carried out by the Belgian judiciary.
All chocolates produced at the Arlon plant – mainly Kinder Surprises and chocolate bons – were finally recalled on April 8th. In the absence of guarantees, the Belgian health authority ordered the factory to be closed, damaging the brand’s image a few days before Easter, the high season for chocolate sales.
“He looked dead”
Little Billy, 3, has fallen seriously ill in Wales after eating a surprise treat for children last month. His mother Kasey speaks to the Mirror.
“Billy loves children’s surprise eggs, he eats at least one a week. His older brother got a three pack for his birthday and since he’s not a chocolate fan I gave one to Billy. He was happy to eat the chocolate and have the toy inside. But a few days later he got very sick,” explains the 26-year-old mother.
After a visit to the doctor, Kasey was advised to take the boy to the hospital. The mother laments: “They were afraid he would go into a coma because his blood sugar was so low. It was terrible. It wasn’t worth it for a chocolate egg. When I sent my family a photo of him in the hospital, their response was that he “looked dead.”
Kasey vows never to give Billy and his 5-year-old brother Ajay another Kinder branded product. She is now demanding compensation from Ferrero. “I think my son should be compensated. He spent nearly a week in the hospital and lost weight from not eating for seven days. Now when he asks for chocolate, he’s asking if it’s going to hurt his stomach,” she concludes.