Chocolate factory in Belgium activates global health warning

First published April 27, 2022, 17:48 IST

At least 151 genetically related cases have been reported suspected of being related to the consumption of the affected chocolate products made in Belgium by Ferrero.

Image: Children’s products manufactured at the affected factory in Arlon, Belgium

The World Health Organization has issued a health warning about an outbreak of infection with Salmonella Typhimurium sequence type 34, with cases reported from 11 countries. At least 151 genetically related cases have been reported suspected of being related to the consumption of the affected chocolate products made in Belgium by Ferrero.

The chocolate has been distributed to no fewer than 113 countries.

In December 2021 and January 2022, traces of Salmonella Typhimurium were detected in buttermilk tanks at the Ferrero Corporate plant in Arlon, Belgium. Following this, hygiene measures were taken and only after a negative Salmonella test was performed, the affected products were distributed throughout Europe and worldwide. However, the emergence of cases has raised concerns that the contamination in the production line may have occurred earlier.

These include Kinder Schoko-Bons, Kinder Surprise, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g and Kinder Mini Eggs.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, the outbreak strain is resistant to six types of antibiotics: penicillin, aminoglycosides (streptomycin, spectinomycin, kanamycin and gentamycin), phenicols, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, tetracyclines.

Image: Geographical distribution of reported cases of Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak and countries where affected products have been distributed as of April 25, 2022.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal conditions in young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems. healthy individuals who become infected often complain of fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare cases, the infection can cause the organism to enter the bloodstream and cause more serious diseases such as endocarditis and arthritis.

Symptoms of Salmonellosis

Based on the reported cases in the current outbreak, symptoms are generally characterized by the onset of fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Symptoms usually manifest 6-72 hours after ingesting food or water contaminated with Salmonella. The disease lasts 2-7 days.

Normally, patients recover without specific treatment. However, in some cases, especially in children and the elderly, dehydration can become severe and life-threatening.

Image: Ferrero voluntarily recalls Kinder Happy Moments Chocolate Assortment and Kinder Mix Chocolate Treats Basket in US over potential health risk and advises consumers

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