Salmonella halts production in world’s largest chocolate plant
Swiss Barry Callebaut stopped its production after finding salmonella contaminations in some of its products on the site, but no reports were issued so far about any chocolate consumers infected by the bacterial disease.
The world's biggest chocolate plant, run by Swiss Barry Callebaut in Wieze, Belgium, stopped its production after finding salmonella contaminations, the firm said today, Thursday.
A company spokesperson told AFP that the production had been protectively stopped at the factory that produces liquid chocolate for 73 clients making confectionaries.
No reports were issued so far about any chocolate consumers infected by the salmonella. The disease causes salmonellosis, which causes fever and diarrhea but is only dangerous in extreme cases.
The spokesperson Korneel Warlop said that "All products manufactured since the test have been blocked," adding that the company is contacting all customers who may have received contaminated products and that the chocolate production has been "suspended until further notice."
Warlop assured that most of the products found to be contaminated were still on the site and the company has contacted its clients and asked them not to ship any chocolate products made as of June 25 at the Wieze plant, northwest of Brussels.
"Food safety is of the utmost importance for Barry Callebaut and this contamination is quite exceptional. We have a well-defined food safety charter and procedures," the firm said.
AFSCA, Belgium's food safety agency has been informed and a spokesperson told AFP it had opened an investigation and investigators would "gather all the information in order to trace the contamination".
The Wieze plant does not sell chocolates directly to consumers, and the company has no reason to believe that any contaminated goods have made it onto shop shelves.
The Italian giant factory under test period
These concerns come a few weeks after a case of salmonella-contaminated chocolate was discovered in the Ferrero factory in Arlon in southern Belgium manufacturing Kinder chocolates.
On June 17, Belgian health authorities said that they had given Barry Callebaut a three-month test period.
The Italian giant supplies chocolate and cocoa products to many firms in the food industry, including industry giants such as Mondelez, Hershey, Nestle, and Unilever.
It is the world's number one in the field and its annual sales amounted to 2.2 million tonnes during the 2020-2021 financial year.
Over the past financial year, it generated a net profit of 384.5 million Swiss francs ($402 million) for 7.2 billion francs in turnover.
The group has more than 13,000 employees and has more than 60 production sites worldwide.