London: Italian confectionary group Ferrero said Wednesday it was extending a recall of its Kinder chocolate eggs in Britain and Ireland over possible links to salmonella cases, just 10 days before Easter.
None of its toy-filled Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs or other products has been proven to contain salmonella, but Ferrero said it has extended the UK and Irish recall as a precaution.
The move, which follows recalls Tuesday in several other European countries, follows concerns over products from Ferrero's factory in the Belgian town of Arlon that were put on sale in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and Sweden.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause symptoms including diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps in humans, and is one of the most common food-borne infections.
"While the situation remains the same, we are fully aware that Easter is approaching, where we see an increase in sales of these products," Ferrero said in a statement.
"Therefore, as an additional precautionary measure, today we have decided to voluntarily recall the products... due to these additional products having been manufactured in the same facility in Belgium, within the same time frame."
The recall will now include 20-gramme Kinder Surprise eggs sold individually and in packs of three with "best before" dates up to and including October 7, 2022.
Tuesday's recall only covered such products with recommended use-by dates from July 11 to October 7.
Meanwhile Ferrero said it had taken the decision to voluntarily recall some other Kinder products - 75-gramme Mini eggs, 150-gramme Egg Hunt Kits, 100-gramme Kinder Surprises and 200-gramme Kinder Schokobons - in Britain and Ireland with consumption dates from April 20 to August 21.
It continues to co-operate with various regulatory agencies in both countries "in relation to a number of reported cases of salmonella", the company said.
"Although no Kinder products released to market have tested positive for salmonella, we are taking this extremely seriously," it added.
Britain's Food Standards Agency has said 63 cases of salmonella have been identified across the UK.
In France, 21 cases have been reported and 15 reported having eaten the Kinder products that have now been recalled, according to the French public health service.