Two special European agencies said Tuesday that 150 cases of salmonella had been found in nine European countries. They blamed a closed Kinder chocolate factory in Belgium, which has since been shut down.
In a joint statement, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety Authority said, “The majority of cases are children under the age of ten, with many being hospitalized.”
Statement: As of April 8, there were 119 confirmed and 31 possible cases in nine countries.
Cases were reported in all of these countries and more. They were in the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
They also said that chocolate products made at a factory in Arlon, in Belgium’s southeast, had been found to contain salmonella, and that countries should be on the lookout for new cases.
The factory’s closure and the health concerns are a setback for its owner, Ferrero, which is in the midst of the Easter holiday season, when its Kinder chocolates are in high demand in supermarkets.
On Monday, Belgium launched an investigation.
Ferrero has issued a statement expressing its “sincere regret” for the recent salmonella outbreak.
AFSCA, Belgium’s food safety watchdog, has told the factory to stop making the popular Kinder brand.
Ferrero, which also makes Nutella and Tic Tac candies, issued a recall in the United States on Thursday for certain Kinder chocolates made in Belgium.
This comes after product recalls in the United Kingdom and several European countries earlier this week due to concerns about the factory’s products.
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes diarrhoea, fever, and stomach cramps in humans. It is one of the most common food-borne infections.
The majority of cases are caused by eating food that has been contaminated with animal or human feces.