The CEO of Ferrero France spoke for the first time in an interview with Parisian this Thursday, May 26. “According to our investigations,” the contamination would come from a “filter located in a dairy butter tank” at the Arlon plant in Belgium and would be caused by “either contaminated raw materials or humans,” he said.
It is one of the largest product recalls in 20 years, with a “financial impact” of “tens of millions of euros”. Nicolas Neykov, Ferrero’s CEO for France, returned to the millions of Kinder products withdrawn from the market for the first time this Thursday, May 26, following numerous cases of salmonellosis in Europe.
In an interview with Parisian Nicolas Neykov, published on Thursday, returned to the origin of the contamination, which, according to our investigations, would come “from a filter placed in a dairy butter vat” at the Arlon plant in Belgium and “caused by either raw material or human contamination,” he said.
Salmonella in Kinder: A mother files a complaint against Ferrero after the hospitalization of her two-year-old son
The Arlon plant in the Belgian Ardennes, where the Kinder products in question originated, was closed in early April. All products made on this site (Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise Maxi 100g and Kinder Schoko-Bons) have been withdrawn.
The group, criticized for not closing the plant on December 15, when salmonella was first detected, is defending itself today. „15. December (…) we stop all production lines, close the factory, throw away what was produced, “he explains. “All our tests performed in the following days are negative, which allows us to reopen the factory,” he explains. “At the time, we are absolutely certain that no contaminated product has been placed on the market. What happened next? The investigation will show,” Nicolas Neykov said as the Belgian judiciary launched a judicial investigation in April.
The CEO explains that “it was not until April 2 that the English authorities made statistical correspondence with the Kinder surprise consumption,” forcing the group to withdraw its products in the UK and the next day in France.
40% turnover loss
The financial impact on the group is significant. “It will be around tens of millions of euros,” said Nicolas Neykov, general manager. Only during the Easter period, which is the highest point for the Italian manufacturer, did the brand lose 40% of its usual turnover.
The group now wants to resume production as soon as possible and has requested the reopening of its Belgian plant on June 13. The group that acknowledged the failure says that 50% of health checks will now be performed by an approved external laboratory, while “so far” everything is based on an internal self-check system.
Contaminated pizzas Buitoni and Kinder: Foodwatch France makes two complaints
At court level, the consumer protection association Foodwatch France announced on 19 May a complaint in Paris about the contamination of Kinder chocolates. At the same time, she filed another against the Nestlé group and its Fraîch’Up pizza range, contaminated with Escherichia coli.
The brand, which toddlers love, estimates that “60% of consumers no longer have confidence,” says Nicolas Neykov, who wants to play a transparency card after launching a recapture campaign.
As a reminder, since the beginning of April, more than 3,000 tonnes of Kinder products have been withdrawn from the market in France, where 81 cases of salmonellosis have been detected, mainly in children under ten years of age.