While Belgium's federal agency for food safety Afsca continues its investigations into the Ferrero factory in Arlon, the Belgian justice system has also decided to investigate the site where hundreds of tonnes of the chocolate products which have been linked to a wave of salmonella infections are manufactured.
“I can confirm that a judicial inquiry has been opened,” stated Anne-Sophie Guilmot, the deputy public prosecutor for Luxembourg province in an email to the press on Monday. “In the current state of affairs and in the interests of the investigation, my office will not communicate further,” she added. The report is being drafted and more information is expected by the end of this week, she told the Brussels daily newspaper Le Soir.
Plant shut down
On Friday, the Luxembourg health authorities announced the withdrawal of all Ferrero products manufactured in Arlon, regardless of their batch or expiry date. In doing so, the grand duchy followed the massive recall ordered a few hours earlier by the Afsca on the Belgian side of the border.
The Luxembourg authorities have asked people who might be in possession of the affected products not to consume them. After denying the alleged presence of Salmonella in some of its products, Ferrero admitted last Thursday that it had found the presence of the bacteria on 15 December 2021 in its Arlon factory.
The plant employs between 725 and 1,100 people, making it the largest employer in the province of Luxembourg. It manufactures the world's only Kinder Schoko-Bons, of which almost 18 million units leave its production lines every day. This product's production line was shut down by the Afsca last Friday.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.