EU investigates salmonella outbreak linked to chocolate ahead of Easter

Kinder chocolate eggs are displayed at a supermarket in Islamabad, Pakistan July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Caren Firouz/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, April 6 (Reuters) – The European health agency said on Wednesday it was investigating dozens of reported and suspected cases of salmonella linked to chocolate consumption in at least nine countries.

Ferrero recalled Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs from UK and Irish shelves on Monday in what it said was a precautionary measure. The Italian confectionery group said on Wednesday that no Kinder product placed on the market had tested positive for salmonella. Read more

“The outbreak is characterized by an unusually high proportion of hospitalized children, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea,” the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

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The agency did not mention Ferrero or any other companies in a statement, but warned on Wednesday that the reported cases were mostly in children under the age of 10.

The agency later said Kinder chocolate eggs were involved but did not say whether the issue was exclusively with those products.

Nestlé (NESN.S), the Swiss confectionery company, said it has not recalled any products in this context. Rival Lindt & Sprunegli (LISN.S) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

The European 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 several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Britain, the European agency said.

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Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; additional reporting by Michael Shields in Zuirch; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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