Ferrero has regained the full production licence for its Arlon plant in Belgium at the heart of the Kinder salmonella outbreak and recall earlier this year.

Belgium’s food-safety body, the AFSCA, said today (16 September) it has granted “definitive authorisation” for the facility. In June, Ferrero was given “conditional authorisation” to restart production with a three-month window to fully satisfy inspection results.

“All results were in conformity, there was no salmonella found there,” the AFSCA said in a statement provided to Just Food. “AFSCA will continue to follow Ferrero closely with additional inspections during a specified period.”

Ferrero was ordered to suspend operations at the plant on 8 April after the site was identified as the source of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium. Hundreds of cases were reported worldwide from the consumption of the privately-owned Italian firm’s Kinder chocolate products.

Since the conditional approval on 17 June, Ferrero said today it has “worked under AFSCA’s supervision using enhanced quality protocols and testing”. It added: “These new quality protocols include an increased sampling plan and positions our quality monitoring system beyond current legal requirements.

“We have learned a lot during this period and have quickly put these learnings into practice.”

Ferrero had delayed reporting the salmonella outbreak before initiating a worldwide recall of Kinder products when the first illnesses came to light in the UK on 7 January.

The presence of Salmonella Typhimurium had been detected at the Arlon plant on 15 December, the Kinder maker acknowledged in April, noting the “point of origin was identified to be a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks” and “materials and finished products were blocked and not released”.

Ferrero added today: “The granting of our production licence means everything is in place for our factory to produce with confidence and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.”