French prosecutors probe choking death blamed on Kinder egg toy
French prosecutors on Wednesday said they were investigating allegations a three-year-old girl died after choking on a toy hidden inside a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg.
The girl's mother told police the child swallowed a small plastic wheel that had become detached from a toy hidden inside the egg, a much-loved product made by Italian company Ferrero.
"The child's grandfather arrived quickly and managed to extract the object", but the girl had fallen into a coma and died on Saturday night in a hospital in the southwestern city of Toulouse, prosecutor Cecile Deprade said in a statement.
Deprade told AFP the "investigation is ongoing" and it was not immediately possible to verify the mother's allegations.
An autopsy confirmed "death following mechanical asphyxiation," the gendarmerie in Toulouse said on Tuesday.
A sign on the wrapping of Kinder Surprise eggs warns against giving them to children aged under three years, as the toys contain small parts that "might be swallowed or inhaled."
According to the Kinder website, more than 30 billion eggs have been sold around the world with more than 8,000 different toys tucked inside a plastic capsule within the confectionery.
"All Kinder Surprise toys are designed and developed with safety in mind, rigorously observing international regulations as well as extra safety criteria voluntarily adopted by the Ferrero Group," the firm says on the site.
The treats, developed in 1974, have never been marketed in the United States because of strict laws on sweets with toys hidden in them.
Ferrero said that upon hearing the "sad news" of the girl's death, it was unable to confirm whether its Kinder brand had indeed been involved.
© 2016 AFP