An outbreak of salmonella linked to Kinder eggs could have been caused by bad buttermilk at a Belgian factory, European health officials said.
At least 150 children have fallen ill in nine countries across the continent since the first case was detected in the UK in December.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety Authority said they matched the same strain of Salmonella that currently infects people with samples taken from a factory in Belgium that same month.
Officials said that “the buttermilk processing step” was identified as a point of contamination for two products, the surprise chocolate eggs with a toy inside and chocolates.
“This outbreak is evolving rapidly and among the reported cases so far, children have been the most at risk of serious infections,” the European CDC said in its report.
It noted that further investigation was needed to determine how the problem arose and to assess “the possibility of more widespread use of contaminated raw material at other processing plants.”
On Friday, Ferrero, the company behind the chocolate products, announced an expanded recall of its Kinder line products, which have been manufactured at its Arlon site in Belgium since last June.
A previous recall only affected products with a best before date of October 7, 2022.
Affected are, among others, Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise 100g and Kinder Schokobons.
As of this week, 150 cases of salmonella have been reported in nine European countries, with most reported in children under the age of 10.
“An exceptionally high number” were hospitalized, European officials said.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Most people who get sick don’t need medication, but some severe cases can result in hospitalization.
Ferrero has previously said it is working with all relevant authorities to investigate the outbreak.
“We take this very seriously as consumer care is our top priority,” the company said.
© evening standard
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-kinder-eggs-caused-by-bad-milk-say-eu-officials-41547430.html Child recall: Salmonella outbreak linked to child eggs caused by bad milk, EU officials say