Well, diarrhea would probably qualify as a surprise after you’ve had some Easter chocolates. And in this case, it would be an egg-stra bad surprise. Ferrero is recalling several different kinds of its Kinder Surprise and other egg products due to a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that’s already affected at least 150 people, mostly young kids, across 10 countries. Now these eggs aren’t the kind that you may beat or a chicken may lay. Instead, the recall consist of the following sweet products distributed in the U.K., according to the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA):
- Kinder Surprise (20g): All dates up to and including 04 January 2023
- Kinder Surprise (20g x 3 pack): All dates up to and including 04 January 2023
- Kinder Surprise (100g): All dates up to and including 21 August 2022
- Kinder Mini eggs (75g): All dates up to and including 21 August 2022
- Kinder Egg Hunt Kit (150g): All dates up to and including 21 August 2022
- Kinder Schokobons (70g, 200g and 320g): All dates up to and including 04 January 2023
But the U.K. ain’t the only country that’s been affected by the outbreak and thus the recall. According to the European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as of April 8 there’s been 119 confirmed and 31 probable cases of Salmonella across nine European Union/EEA countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden) and the U.K. since December 21. The ECDC announcement indicated that “Most cases are children under 10 years of age, with many being hospitalised,” as opposed to adults under under 10 years of age.
Looks like the ECDC may not have to go on an Easter egg hunt to find the source of the outbreak. Back in December 2021, Ferrero had found Salmonella Typhimurium in a buttermilk tank back in its Arlon, Belgium, factory. According to the ECDC, at the time, the company had “implemented some hygiene measures and increased sampling and testing of the products and the processing environment. After negative Salmonella testing, it then distributed the chocolate products across Europe and globally.” Ah, but in March 2022, sequencing data were connecting Salmonella cases in various parts of Europe back to Belgium. Public health warnings ensued, and Ferrero issued the voluntary recall of particular products. Then the food safety authority in Belgium essentially shut down the Arlon factory on April 8.
Before you believe what happens in Europe stays in Europe, keep in mind that Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. is issuing a voluntary recall as well. This recall includes two products distributed in the U.S.: its Kinder Happy Moments Chocolate Assortment and Kinder Mix Chocolate Treats basket, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on April 12,
The Product Kinder Happy Moments Milk Chocolate and Crispy Wafers Assortment should have a Universal Product Code of 09800 52025 on its right side panel and a “Best By” date of July 18, 2022. The Kinder Mix Chocolate Treats Basket should have a UPC of 09800 60209 on the bottom of its package and a “Best By” date on the bottom of its package. If these product descriptions match what you see on your packages (your Easter chocolate product packages, that is), replace both of these “Best By” dates with “never” and contact the Ferrero customer service line (1-800-688-3552) or website for a replacement.
Here’s an ABC Action News segment on the recall:
Now it’s not clear specifically how many of these products may have been contaminated. However, you probably don’t want to roll the dice and play craps with your chocolates, so to speak.
Whenever anyone asks you, “would you like some Salmonella with that,” your answer more often than not should be, “no.” A Salmonella infection is not a good thing to have, assuming that you don’t enjoy fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Things could even get worse than that, especially if you are a young child, an older adult, or otherwise have a weakened immune system. A Salmonella infection can lead to some major complications like infections of your blood, arteries, heart, or joints and even death.
I’ve written before for Forbes about Salmonella on multiple occasions since you could make a buffet with the different food items that have been sources of various Salmonella outbreaks since 2017. For example, a large Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak last Summer had an onion ring to it. Food and drink hasn’t been the only source of such outbreaks in recent years. The risk of Salmonella is another reason why you shouldn’t get a hedgehog to brush your teeth beyond the fact that hedgehogs have fairly short arms.
So check your chocolates and their product codes before you consume them for Easter or any time afterwards. Life may be like a box of chocolates in that you never know what you’re going to get. But one thing that you don’t want to get is Salmonella.