As part of an investigation into the spread of salmonella in “children’s” chocolate products, the Belgian and Luxembourg investigative authorities inspected several locations of the Ferrero confectionery group on Wednesday. According to the prosecutor of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, among other things, documents and computers were confiscated. However, no one was arrested.
The Ferrero factory in Arlon, Belgium, where children’s products contaminated with salmonella were made, was damaged in one of the raids. The branch has been closed since April 8 by a decision of the health authorities. There were further raids on positions in Brussels and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where Ferrero is also based.
Look for those responsible
The investigations aim to clarify who is responsible for the salmonella contamination and whether there was an omission to report to the health authorities. According to a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, Ann-Sophie Gilmot, investigations are underway into “violations of food safety and hygiene,” “physical harm resulting from negligence” and “failure to provide assistance.”
It is suspected that the Italian confectionery group did not alert the authorities until late and that it recalled the products too late. Although salmonella was discovered in Arlon’s yoghurt tank as early as December 2021, the company only began recalling thousands of tons of “baby” products in early April.
As of mid-April, European authorities have linked 150 cases of salmonellosis in nine countries to chocolate products. The majority of salmonella infections have occurred in children under the age of 10. There have been at least 14 confirmed cases in Austria. Ten of those affected were children, according to the Agency for Health and Food Security (AGES); Five of them need hospital treatment.
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