The Belgian food-safety authorities on Friday allowed a Belgium-based Ferrero chocolate factory to reopen under conditions, after it shut in early April following cases of salmonella food poisoning reported in several European countries.
The authorization to reopen will be granted for three months, during which raw materials and batches of foodstuffs produced will be analyzed to see if they align with food regulations.
“In case of favorable inspection results at the end of this 3-month period, a permanent authorization can be issued,” reads a statement from the AFSCA, the Belgian food-safety agency.
“As it stands, the plant offers the necessary guarantees to meet all necessary food safety requirements,” said a spokesperson for the food-safety agency. “There was a lot of background work that was done by Ferrero under the supervision and guidance of the AFSCA. It was in-depth work on all their internal procedures of self-monitoring,” she added.
The production lines of the Ferrero plant in Arlon, in the Belgian Ardennes, will reopen in a few weeks, the company said in a statement.
More than 1,000 employees worked in the factory. The company said it made significant investments and replaced equipment, as well as installing 300 meters of new pipe.
Just before Easter, more than 300 cases of salmonella were reported across the U.K., France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden after people ate Kinder products. The food-safety agency stressed that it underwent thorough investigations and sample analyses before deciding to shut the factory.