EU investigates chocolate-linked salmonella outbreak before Easter

Ferrero recalled Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs from Irish shelves on Monday
EU investigates chocolate-linked salmonella outbreak before Easter

Thomson Reuters

Europe's health agency has confirmed it is investigating dozens of reported and suspected cases of salmonella linked with eating chocolate in at least nine countries, including Ireland.

Ferrero recalled Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs from Irish shelves on Monday in what it said was a precautionary move. The Italian confectionery group said on Wednesday that no Kinder products released to the market had tested positive for salmonella.

"The outbreak is characterised by an unusually high proportion of children being hospitalised, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

The agency did not mention Ferrero or any other company in a statement, but warned on Wednesday that the reported cases were mostly among children under 10 years old.

The agency later said that Kinder chocolate eggs were involved but did not clarify whether the problem concerned exclusively those products.

Nestle, the Swiss confectionery company, said it had recalled no products in this context. Rival Lindt & Spruengli was not affected by the current health crisis.

Britain has the highest number of incidents with 63 confirmed cases as of April 5th, the ECDC said, adding that other countries with probable or confirmed cases are Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said on Monday there were at least 10 cases in the country with the same strain of Salmonella responsible for the UK outbreak.

The EU health agency said it was investigating, together with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 134 confirmed or probable cases of salmonella.

Product recalls have been launched in Ireland and several other countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Britain, the EU agency said.

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