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HEALTH

Austria: What you need to know about the Ferrero product recall

The Italian candy manufacturer has announced a large recall of some of its products in several countries due to salmonella contamination. Here's what you need to know.

kinder chocolate products
Several Ferrero products have been recalled in Austria and other European countries. (Photo by Tom Morel on Unsplash)

The chocolate producer Ferrero, which owns brands like Nutella, Kinder, and Ferrero Rocher, announced a widespread recall of some of its products due to salmonella.

The news was received with concern by consumers, mainly since the recall focused on selected Kinder batches – most of them marketed to children, and due to the close proximity of Easter. Several of the recalled products are ‘Easter Eggs’. 

The company stated that it is working with the Food Safety Authority in Austria over a “possible link to many internationally reported salmonella cases”.

Ferrero Österreich said that none of its products has tested positive for the bacteria, but they “take this matter very seriously” and voluntarily recall some of its products as a precaution.

Here’s what you need to know about the case.

READ ALSO: Easter holidays: What to expect if you are coming to Austria

Which products were recalled?

Several Kinder batches of Kinder Schokobons, Kinder Überraschung, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Mix, and Kinder Maxi Mix are in the list of products recalled. You can see a complete list here.

The company and health authorities advise people not to consume any of these products. If you have them at home, certain supermarket chains have already announced that they can be returned for a refund without the need for proof of purchase.

What is salmonella?

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause an illness called salmonellosis. The symptoms are usually diarrhoea, fever, and stomach cramps. They start from six hours to six days after infection and last four to seven days, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In the European Union, over 91,000 cases are reported each year. Most people will recover within a few days without antibiotics, but treatment, and hospitalisation, could be needed in some cases.

The bacteria can spread to humans through contaminated foods. It is most frequently found in eggs and raw meat from pigs, turkeys, and chickens.

Safe handling of these products can prevent or reduce the risk posed by contaminated food.

READ ALSO: First since 2019: Here are the best Easter Markets in Austria

What happened to cause the recall?

An outbreak of salmonella cases called the attention of the EFSA. Early this week, 134 cases had been reported, mainly among children under 10 years old.

The authorities tracked the origin of the infections to “specific chocolate products“.

The authorities launched product recalls in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the UK, while Ferrero is organising recalls in countries like Austria.

According to the most recent data from April 6th, there have been no confirmed or probable cases in Austria. Belgium has 26 potential cases, France has 20 confirmed cases, and Germany has four confirmed and three probable cases.

Where did it all begin?

Ferrero said it has identified a genotype match between reported salmonella cases in Europe and its plant in Arlon, Belgium.

The company identified the point of origin as a filter at the outlet of two raw material tanks and is currently investigating the case.

“Ferrero took actions, including the removal of the filter, and significantly increased the already high level of controls on semi-finished and finished products”, the manufacturer added.

READ ALSO: How to celebrate Easter like an Austrian

What should I do now?

Check if you have any of the recalled products and take them back to the supermarket. If you or your family members show any symptoms of the disease, get in touch with your doctor for further information.

Most people recover from a salmonella infection in up to a week and should drink extra fluids in the meantime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Useful vocabulary

Rückruf – recall
SalmonellenErkrankungen – Salmonella sickness
Betroffene Produkten – affected products
Kunden – clients/customers

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HEALTH

More pay and longer holidays: How Austria hopes to attract 75,000 new nurses

The Federal Government unveiled a package looking to attract more than 75,000 new workers to the nursing and care professions - including people from abroad.

More pay and longer holidays: How Austria hopes to attract 75,000 new nurses

Austria has unveiled a €1 billion reform package to improve working conditions for health sector professionals.

In a press release this Thursday, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said that the package would include higher salaries for nurses.

“There will be massive measures to make the nursing profession more attractive”, the minister said.

For 2022 and 2023, the government will offer a total of €520 million as a monthly salary bonus for the professionals, Rauch said. This should last initially for at least two years until other measures start taking effect.

Training for the career will also receive investments, according to the minister. There will be a federal training subsidy of at least €600 per month.

In addition, a nursing scholarship for those switching (or switching back) to the nursing profession of up to €1,400 will be funded by the Austrian Employment Agency AMS.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners need to know about the Austrian healthcare system

As a measure to protect workers and keep them from turning to other professions, the government explained that all those older than 43 years old will receive an extra week of paid holidays. Additionally, all employees in inpatient long-term care will receive two hours of time credit per night shift.

​​Among the more than 20 measures that the Ministry will detail in the coming days are steps to increase help for those in need of care and of relatives that care for their families, according to the statements given in the press release.

Caring relatives will receive a family bonus of €1,500 per year if they provide most of the care at home and are themselves insured or co-insured. The employment in 24-hour care is also to be “made more attractive” – but details are still pending.

Bringing in international help

The government is also turning outside of Austria and the European Union to attract more professionals.

In the future, nurses who complete vocational training will receive “significantly more” points in the process to access the so-called Rot Weiss Rot (RWR) residence permit. They will also increase the points given for older professionals, facilitating the entry of nurses from 40 to 50 years old.

RWR applicants need to reach a certain threshold of points based on criteria including age and education to get the permit.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

The recognition of training acquired abroad will be significantly simplified, accelerated and debureaucratised, the government promises. And nurses will be able to work as nursing assistants until the formal recognition of their foreign qualifications is completed.

Long-needed reform

“People in care work have long deserved these improvements”, Rauch said.

The government expects the package to create more than 75,000 new workers to fill the thousands of open positions in the sector by 2030.

Green Party leader Sigrid Maurer stated that the measures will be an essential step towards gender equality. “After all, it is mainly women who work in the care professions, especially taking care of relatives at home”.

READ ALSO: Austria’s former health minister becomes best-selling author

The government announcement comes as several protests are scheduled to take place throughout Austria this Thursday, which is also Tag der Pflege (Day of Care).

Health and care sector professionals are taking to the streets to demand better hours and pay and protest against staff shortage, overload, and burn-out.

“We have been calling for better conditions and better pay for years. Thousands of beds are now empty because we don’t have enough staff. In Styria, about 3,000 of a total of 13,000 beds in the nursing sector are currently closed,” Beatrix Eiletz, head of the works council of Styrian Volkshilfe told the daily Der Standard.

READ ALSO: How Covid absences are disrupting Austrian hospitals, schools and transport

It is not uncommon that nurses will quit their jobs and move to completely different professions, thereby increasing the gap, the report added.

The problem is an old one in Austria – but it has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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