IAs part of their investigations into a salmonella outbreak in children’s chocolate products, Belgian and Luxembourg investigative authorities searched several locations of the Ferrero confectionery group on Wednesday. According to the public prosecutor of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, among other things, documents and computer hardware were confiscated. However, nobody was arrested.
The Ferrero plant in Arlon, Belgium, where the children’s products contaminated with salmonella were manufactured, was affected by one of the raids. The branch has been closed since April 8 by decision of the health authorities. There were further raids at locations in Brussels and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where Ferrero also has its headquarters.
The investigations are intended to clarify who is responsible for the salmonella contamination and whether there were omissions in informing the health authorities. According to the spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, Anne-Sophie Guilmot, investigations are being carried out into suspected “violations of food safety and hygiene”, “negligent bodily harm” and “failure to provide assistance”.
The Italian confectionery group is suspected of not alerting the authorities until late and of having recalled the products too late. Although salmonella was discovered in a buttermilk tank in Arlon in December 2021, the group only began recalling thousands of tons of children’s products in early April.
By mid-April, European authorities linked 150 cases of salmonellosis in nine countries, including Germany, to the chocolate products. The majority of salmonella infections occurred in children under the age of ten.