Kinder factory shut down as dozens of children contract salmonella poisoning from contaminated chocolate

A Kinder chocolate factory in Belgium has been ordered to temporarily close over reports of salmonella contamination, with cases of food poisoning recorded in at least nine countries.

Most of the cases are young children, some reporting bloody stools.

Australia and New Zealand’s Food Standards authority put out a nationwide recall notice for some Kinder products last week, but that was later extended to include four more chocolates made by the factory.

Which products have been recalled?

The following products, which are manufactured in Belgium (other Ferrero products made in Italy are not affected by the recall), with Australian barcodes:

  • Kinder Easter Basket 120g (6x20g): 19300698000619
  • Kinder Mini Eggs Hazelnut: 100g: 19300698020242; 270g; 9300698503618; 750g: 9300698503618
  • Kinder Surprise Maxi (Miraculous) 100g: 19300698018591​
  • Kinder Surprise Maxi (Natoons) 100g​: 19300698016528​
  • Kinder Surprise Xmas Maxi (Disney Frozen 2021) 100g: 9300698502246
  • Kinder Surprise Xmas Maxi (2021) 100g: 9300698501935
  • Kinder Maxi Xmas Mix with Plush (2021) 133g: 9300698504004
  • Kinder Xmas Happy Moments Ballotin (2021) 190g: 9300698503960

This applies to all Best Before dates and batch codes.

Eight different Kinder chocolate eggs with their product names underneath.
All of the recalled products were manufactured in Belgium. (Supplied: Food Standards Australia New Zealand)

What do I do if have one of these products?

Don’t eat it — but don’t throw it away.

Return the item to the place you purchased it, where you’ll be given a full refund.

What if it’s already been eaten?

Food Standards says if you’re concerned about your health, you should seek medical advice.

Here’s a list of salmonella poisoning symptoms to watch out for:

  • fever
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • nauseous
  • vomiting

Symptoms usually start between six and 72 hours after the contaminated food is eaten.

They usually last for between four and seven days.

NSW Health says symptoms can be more severe for young babies, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

In those severe cases, some people need to be hospitalized to treat dehydration.

A halved Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, with a toy inside a plastic shell.A halved Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, with a toy inside a plastic shell.
People are being warned not to consume the chocolate impacted by the recall notice. (Wikimedia: Mysid)

‘Unusually high’ number of children hospitalized

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said the Kinder factory was linked to a salmonella outbreak in at least nine countries.

As of Friday, the health agency had identified at least 142 confirmed and probable cases of food poisoning in countries including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Sweden.

Most of those cases are in children under the age of 10.

“The outbreak is characterized by an unusually high proportion of children being hospitalised, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea,” the health agency said.

Factory closed down

Belgium’s food safety authority ordered the factory, located in Arlonto suspend manufacturing while the contamination was being investigated.

In a statement on the food safety authority’s website, Ferrero said this was the only way to eliminate the risk of further contamination.

Ferrero admitted “there have been internal failures” which slowed down the sharing of information about the contamination, without elaborating on what caused it.

The company said the factory will only reopen once it’s been given the all-clear by authorities.

The factory produces about 7 per cent of Kinder products sold globally each year.


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