The Ferrero chocolate factory in the Belgian city of Arlon, which was closed down after a salmonella contamination, has been given permission to resume production. However, the Federal Food Safety Agency has put some conditions in place.
For three months
The Arlon production unit had to close its doors on 8 April after salmonella contaminations in several European countries were linked to products of Kinder Surprise, Kinder Surprise Maxi, Kinder Mini Eggs and Schoko chocolates.
The Belgian Federal Food Safety Agency is now giving the factory a conditional authorisation for a period of three months. “During this period, each batch of food produced and also the raw materials will be analysed. If the analysis shows a compliant result, the products may be placed on the market,” the agency reported in a press release.
The decision was taken after weeks of thorough investigation during which the agency carried out on-site inspections of the factory’s internal procedures and infrastructure. At this moment Ferrero can give the necessary guarantees regarding food safety, but the agency wants to check things once production is actually resumed. Hence the conditional approval.
Ferrero was criticised after discovering the contamination: the manufacturer was blamed for a lack of communication. Salmonella was reportedly detected in the factory as early as 15 December in a defective filter at two raw material reservoirs.
In order to resume production, in recent weeks about a thousand employees worked seven days a week dismantling, cleaning and reassembling the production lines one by one.