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French authorities launch probe into Ferrero salmonella outbreak

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Paris, June 10 (Ajit Weekly News) A preliminary investigation was opened in Paris on Thursday following complaints alleging salmonella poisoning in children, who had consumed Kinder chocolates produced by Ferrero, the Italian confectionery giant, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office said.

The investigation was opened on the counts of “involuntary attacks on physical integrity” and “endangering the lives of others,” the French daily Le Figaro reported, citing the Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.

A formal complaint was filed on May 19 by the consumer organisation Foodwatch based on several reports from the families of victims, Xinhua news agency reported.

The authorities in Belgium have also been investigating the Ferrero group and its Kinder chocolates since April 11.

A factory in Arlon in southeast Belgium that produces the entire range of Kinder chocolates has now been closed indefinitely, Le Figaro said.

The Ferrero group is suspected of delaying alerts to the authorities and failing to recall its products when salmonella was first detected in the Arlon factory on December 15, 2021.

According to Ferrero, the contamination was likely caused by a faulty filter in a dairy butter tank.

On June 2, the French public health agency reported 118 cases of salmonellosis in the country. The average age of the victims was four years. The infections were allegedly caused by Kinder chocolates produced in Arlon.

According to the agency, 22 people were hospitalised, but no deaths have been reported.

The French authorities have also been investigating a series of Escherichia coli (E.coli) poisoning cases in children linked to a batch of pizzas produced by Buitoni, a Nestle company.

–Ajit Weekly News

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