Italian confectionery group Ferrero said on Tuesday it is recalling Kinder chocolate eggs in several European countries because of a possible link to dozens of cases of salmonella.
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped Gram-negative bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae. The two species of Salmonella are Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. S. enterica is the type species and is further divided into six subspecies that include over 2,600 serotypes.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) had advised people not to eat 20g or three-pack eggs with best before dates between 11 July and 7 October 2022.
Kinder Easter egg hunt kits (150g), Kinder Mini eggs (75g), Kinder schokobons (200g) and the 100g Kinder Surprise have now been recalled too.
All sweets affected had been made in the same Belgian factory. No other Ferrero or Kinder products are believed to have been affected.
Ferrero, which makes Kinder chocolates, said that it had taken the “precautionary decision” to voluntarily extend the recall to these products in the UK and Ireland with best before dates between 20 April 2022 and 21 August 2022.
The chocolate-maker said none of its Kinder products released for sale had tested positive for salmonella, but that it takes the matter “extremely seriously”.
They added that they were aware of Easter coming up, which usually sees a sales boost for Kinder Surprise eggs.
The spokesperson said:
The company takes food safety extremely seriously and we sincerely apologise for this matter. Our continued commitment to consumer care has driven our decision today to extend the voluntary recall.
The FSA said that if customers have chocolates from the batches described, they should not eat them. They can also contact Ferrero for a full refund. The products will be taken off the shelves and notices put up in shops to warn consumers.
It comes after about 63 people in the UK, mostly young children, became infected with salmonella in an outbreak linked to the Kinder Surprise treats.
On Monday, the FSA said no deaths had been reported in the UK but most cases involved children aged five and under.
Investigations so far have been led by the UK Health Security Agency, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland.
Europe’s health agency said on Wednesday it was also looking into dozens of suspected cases of salmonella linked with eating chocolate in at least nine countries including the UK, Germany, France and Belgium.
It did not mention Ferrero or any other confectioner in a statement, but warned that the reported cases were mostly among children under 10.
Dr Lesley Larkin, of the UK Heath Security Agency, previously said that symptoms of salmonellosis, which can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever, “typically resolve themselves within a few days”.
She said symptoms could be more severe, especially in young children and those with weakened immune systems and anybody with concerns should contact their GP .
Salmonella can be spread from person to person, so Dr Larkin advised anyone with symptoms to wash their hands thoroughly and avoid handling other people’s food.