Kinder had to withdraw more than 3,000 tons of products from the market for a salmonella outbreakwhich has cost several tens of millions of euros, a company official told the French newspaper on Thursday Le Parisien.
Nicholas Neykov, director of Ferrero France, said that the contamination came “from a filter located in a vat of dairy butter”, in a factory in Arlon, Belgium. He added that the contamination could have been caused by humans or by raw materials.
Indeed, chocolate products made at the Arlon factory in southeastern Belgium contained salmonella, resulting in 150 cases in nine European countries.
Eighty-one of them were produced in France and mainly affected children under 10 years.
The factory closure and health problems were a heavy blow to its owner, the Italian confectionery giant Ferreroat the height of the Easter holiday season, when their Kinder chocolates are in high demand in supermarkets.
“This crisis it’s heartbreaking. It is the largest elimination of products in the last 20 years”Neykov said.
The company expects to be able to restart the factory next monthwith 50% of health and safety inspections performed by an approved “external laboratory” in the future, instead of the previous system of internal reviews only.
“We have requested a reopening from June 13 to relaunch production as soon as possible”he added.
Ferrero and Nestlé, before the justice in France
Two criminal lawsuits were filed last week in France against the food giants Ferrero and Nestlé due to cases of severe poisoning from the ingestion of Kinder chocolate products (Ferrero) and Buitoni frozen pizzas (Nestlé).
This was announced by the NGO Food Watch after several cases of poisoning by the E.Coli bacterium were declared as of March, in the case of pre-cooked pizzas, and of salmonella in that of chocolates.
“We demand that the two matters be thoroughly investigated and responsibilities be purged as quickly as possible so that the victims have answers to their legitimate demands,” lawyer François Lafforgue urged in a statement released by Food Watch.
The NGO specified that the The goal is also to “end the impunity of multinationals.”
The Buitoni factory in Caudry (northern France) was the subject of a temporary ban by the authorities to produce pizzas, while the Ferrero plant in Arlon (Belgium) was closed and is expected to reopen in June.
Criminal complaints were filed with the department of public health of the Judicial Court of Paris by the TTLA law firm on behalf of Food Watch and several victims alleging seven serious infractions, among them “aggravated falsehood”, “involuntary threats against the integrity of the person” and “endangering third parties”.
In April, when the scandal broke, lThe French Prosecutor’s Office had already announced an investigation for “involuntary manslaughter”, “falsehood” and “endangering third parties” for the death of the two children from eating FraIch’Up pizzas (Buitoni).
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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