Parents urged to keep Kinder eggs for their children on Easter Sunday

Parents are urgently reminded not to let their children eat any Kinder eggs they may receive tomorrow due to the significant risk of Salmonella infection.

With less than 24 hours before hundreds of thousands of children embark on their Easter egg haul, Dr Paul McKeown, public medicine consultant at the Center for Health Protection Surveillance, said the “timing is terrible” for such products to face a recall.

However, he told the Irish Examiner that people need to be aware of the risks. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland first issued a notice regarding the recall of Kinder products linked to an outbreak of Salmonella on April 2.

The outbreak has affected a number of European countries and authorities have linked it to a factory of manufacturers Ferrero, based in Belgium. So far in Ireland there have been 15 confirmed cases and most of them have been in young children.

“Just under 50% of cases were admitted to hospital, which is higher than expected,” Dr McKeown said. “We know from this outbreak that more than three-quarters of the cases were little girls and the vast majority of the cases were under the age of 10. This is not surprising given that these products are aimed at young children.”

He said food recalls are very effective in removing products from shelves. “But they’re not as good at deleting products that have already been purchased because maybe people haven’t seen the news or they’re busy or whatever,” he added.

“Our concern is that these products may have been purchased by parents, grandparents, godparents, uncles, cousins, etc., and may have been hidden away until this weekend, such as the Easter bunny tends to do that.”

People have been warned to avoid a number of Kinder products, regardless of their expiration dates, including:

  • the standard 20g Kinder Surprise;
  • a Kinder Surprise three-pack;
  • Kinder mini eggs;
  • Kinder Egg Hunt Kit;
  • the Kinder Surprise 100g and;
  • all pack sizes of Kinder Schokobons.

While Ireland has the capacity to track the specific strain of Salmonella linked to this outbreak, the public health consultant warned there may be more cases where people have failed to come forward for treatment.

Dr McKeown added that the illness that can result from consuming these products can be “very distressing for children”, with symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea.

People infected with Salmonella usually develop symptoms between 12 and 36 hours after infection. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, and abdominal cramps.

“What we don’t want is to see kids getting sick and parents or grandparents feeling guilty for giving them what they thought was a treat,” Dr McKeown said.

“Given it’s Easter, the clear message is to check back one more time and see if you have any of these products that are on this list published by the FSAI. And please don’t eat them.

Alicia R. Rucker