France and the United Kingdom have the most patients in the Ferrero chocolate Salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 450 people.

The UK has 122 monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium patients.

Santé publique France reported that as of June 2, there were 118 sick people in the country. This is up from the 81 cases reported on May 4.

French patients have a median age of 4 years old and includes 57 girls and 61 boys. Onset of symptoms occurred between Jan. 20 and April 4, 2022.

Twenty-two people were hospitalized because of salmonellosis but they have since been discharged and no deaths were reported.

Fifty-one cases have been interviewed by Santé publique France and all of them, except one, reported consumption of Kinder chocolates.

Nicolas Neykov, the head of Ferrero France, told the newspaper Le Parisien in May that more than 3,000 tons of Kinder products have been withdrawn and the incident will cost the company “tens of millions of Euros.”

Wider impact and background
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) reported 445 cases as of June 3.

Of the 423 confirmed and 22 probable patients, the United States has one and Canada has four. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden are also affected.

An assessment in mid-May by the ECDC and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) revealed 324 cases in 16 countries. Most of those sick were children under the age of 10.

The two outbreak strains of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium were identified in 10 of 81 Salmonella positive samples taken in Ferrero’s Arlon plant in Belgium between December 2021 and January 2022, including raw materials, semi-finished and finished products.

Ferrero stepped up controls and increased sampling and testing of products and the processing environment. Batches of products were released to market after negative Salmonella testing.

A recall has been issued but potentially contaminated products have still been found on sale by authorities in the UK. New cases of Salmonella infection may also occur because of the long shelf life of the chocolate and possible storage of products at home.

Belgian officials stopped production at the facility in early April but it is expected to reopen later this month. Chocolate was distributed to at least 113 countries.

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