The plant will be reopening in the next few weeks after starting the reopening process.
In April, the company recalled selected batches of Kinder Surprise products after investigations led by UKHSA, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland found a link between reported cases of Salmonella poisoning across the UK and a specific product produced by the Ferrero company in Arlon.
The authorities decided on 8 April to remove the authorisation for the factory after conducting an in-depth investigation into the outbreak.
The Belgium food safety authority (AFSCA) has now given a 'conditional' authorisation for three months at the plant. During this period, the raw materials, as well as each batch of foodstuffs produced, will be analysed. It is only if these analyses give a compliant result that the products can be placed on the market.
This decision to allow the plant to reopen comes after several weeks of in-depth analysis during saw several on-site checks both of the internal procedures put in place by Ferrero and the infrastructure of the factory, AFSCA revealed.
The three-month period in order be able to verify the concrete application of all the internal procedures once the factory has resumed its production activities. If all the inspections are clear then the factory will be given full authorisation.
Food safety controls
Ferrero said that the reopening follows extensive cleaning and food safety controls conducted in close collaboration AFSCA.
The company said that more than 1,000 Ferrero employees and independent specialists have been working at the plant continuously. More than 1,800 quality tests have been completed, 10,000 parts dismantled and cleaned, and significant investments made. This includes the replacement of multiple pieces of equipment as well as the installation of 300 metres of new pipeline. The company has also updated the product safety protocols, trainings and sampling in the plant.
“We are very pleased to have received the green light from the Belgian food safety authority. We would like to thank AFSCA for their invaluable guidance and support,” said Lapo Civiletti, chief executive officer of the Ferrero Group.
“We are truly sorry for what happened and would like to apologise once again to all those impacted. We have never experienced a situation like this in our 75-year history. We have taken learnings from this unfortunate event and will do everything to ensure it does not happen again”.