On 2 April, an alert went out to the public recalling Kinder Surprise chocolates, both the single product and the three-pack due to the possible presence of salmonella.

Product recalls are made by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) every week so this alert wasn’t out of the ordinary. But then three days later four more products were added to the list, some of which were Easter-themed, with more details of symptoms to look out for.

The next day, two of the products with different expiry dates were added and by 8 April, just a week from the first alert, all products previously listed with all expiry dates were to be recalled.

This is what you would call a PR disaster for Kinder but the real effects were just beginning to show. Young children became sick with salmonella – vomiting, diarrhoea and high temperatures, our youngest and most vulnerable consumers affected. To date, 15 reports have occurred in Ireland, with a further 67 cases in the UK and 150 cases across the EU. Some required hospitalisation and given the Easter season, there potentially could be more cases.

Media attention

This is why it’s up to consumers to keep informed on product recalls – they are happening all the time. The big cases get lots of media attention. After all, farmers likely won’t forget the biggest food recall that ever occurred in this State – the recall of all Irish pork and bacon products in December 2008, a precautionary measure due to the illegal presence of a dioxin contaminant.

Such cases are written about in detail in the media. But did you know that in just the last few weeks, there were recalls of Mars Bounty ice creams (due to the presence of an unauthorised pesticide Etylene Oxide), Tesco Free From biscuits (due to the possible presence of small metal parts), Centra hot smoked salmon (due to the presence of raw salmon) and Baxter and Greene’s smoked salmon pâté in Dunnes due to possible presence of plastic? This was on top of the four Kinder alerts. And this level of alerts is not unprecedented.

Orla Moore, risk manager with the FSAI says: “There were 26 food alerts issued in the first three months of the year. This is actually down on last year where 34 food alerts were made in the same period. Throughout 2021, in total we had 119 food alerts while 112 were made the year beforehand.

“It is important for consumers to take note, to not consume the products when they see an alert and to be aware that if you encounter a problem with a food product that there is an online complaints form on the FSAI website to notify us directly of an issue or you can go through the advice line.”

Indeed, while the alerts of products that are being recalled are clear on the FSAI website and the authority has active social media channels, it is just the agency for food recalls. There is no one body that oversees all product recalls.


The FSAI issues alerts for food and food supplements. However, if there is a problem with any medicines, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics (there was one lately in regards to fake tan), that comes from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

Any product recalls related to your mobile phone or internet comes from Comreg while anything to do with workplace equipment comes from the Health and Safety Authority (HAS). If there is a product recall about construction products, that comes from the Department of Housing and then anything else related to general product safety including toys comes from the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission (CCPC)

It is the responsibility of each entity to get the message across to the consumer when a product is being recalled but without one body overseeing everything, this is a very fragmented approach.

For example, while parents would be concerned about the product recall on Kinder products issued by the FSAI last week, they would be equally interested in the recent product recalls of baby products issued by the CCPC. Between 2021 and 2022, over 4,500 baby nests and baby sleeping bags have been recalled in Ireland.

Given the fact that many babies and toddlers now sleep in baby sleeping bags, this is a real concern. Fortunately though, these recalls did not occur due to incidents that affected children. Instead this was a proactive project undertaken by the CCPC and its counterparts across the European Union.

Gráinne Griffin, director of communications with the CCPC, says: “Product safety testing and market surveillance is central to our role in protecting the welfare of consumers across Ireland. It makes sense to work with our European counterparts for efficiency reasons and to maximise the impact of the research. In this situation, we examined a range of baby products on the market to ensure they were fit for purpose.

“It’s important to say from the outset that baby sleeping bags are a very common product that can be found in many households and there isn’t a safety issue on the general concept of them and there are standards that they must adhere to, it is a well-regulated area. However, we found issues with certain products. Specifically, we examined the necks of the sleeping bags and found some were too big. With baby sleeping bags, you don’t want the baby to slip out of it or to slip into it. Some were labelled 6-18 months which is a wide age range and the openings were not suitable. We also examined those with padding to ensure stitching was secure and nothing that is a potential choking hazard could escape. Zips should also be secure as should poppers and there should be no evidence of traditional buttons, which are a choking hazard. As a result, one of the products to be recalled was a popular baby sleeping bag from Dunnes Stores. 4,480 of their Unicorn Sleep and Grow bag were recalled.”


Grainne says one of the top pieces of advice for consumers is to buy from a reputable retailer and within the EU. As Dunnes Stores is considered a reputable retailer by many consumers, we ask what else can be done to ensure you are buying a quality product. “We would advise all consumers to check the weight as well as the age on the label to ensure it fits your baby and also check the neck fitting yourself – that there is no way your baby could slip through.”

Again while this would have been quite a high-profile product recall, there are still a plethora of other alerts on the CCPC website.

In the last month alone, it includes recalls of girls swim suits, toy trucks, toy guns and dolls as well as more high cost items such as the BMW K1600 motorcycle.

Grainne concludes by saying: “When returning a product that has been recalled, remember it is a faulty product that doesn’t meet the criteria it was supposed to meet and therefore, you are entitled to a repair, replacement of refund. In general we have found though that when there is a recall, shops are well set up for it and we rarely encounter a returns issue in this regard.”

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