BRUSSELS: Europe's health agency said on Wednesday (Apr 6) it was investigating dozens of reported and suspected cases of salmonella linked with eating chocolate in at least nine countries.
Ferrero recalled Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs from British and Irish shelves on Monday in what it said was a precautionary move. The Italian confectionary group said on Wednesday that no Kinder products released to the market had tested positive for salmonella.
The European Union agency did not mention Ferrero or any other company in a statement, but warned on Wednesday that the reported cases were mostly among children under 10 years old.
"The outbreak is characterised by an unusually high proportion of children being hospitalised, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea," the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) said.
Britain has the highest number of incidents with 63 confirmed cases as of Apr 5, the ECDC said, adding that other countries with probable or confirmed cases are France, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.
The EU health agency said it was investigating, together with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 134 confirmed or probable cases of salmonella.
Product recalls have been launched in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Britain, the EU agency said.