The Barry Callebaut Group announced that it has shut down all of its production lines in its plant in Wieze, Belgium, the largest chocolate factory in the world, after it has been found to be contaminated with salmonella.
All chocolate goods produced at the plant since 25 June were put on hold when the bacteria was discovered on 27 June, the company stated. Barry Callebaut also asked customers to block any of its shipped products. Production will only resume after the root cause analysis and risk assessment are finished.
The source of contamination was found to be lecithin, which is a common emulsifier used in making chocolate according to Barry Callebaut’s quality specialists.
Belgian food safety authorities (FAVV) have been informed of the salmonella contamination. The Swiss Chocolate giant is getting in touch with customers who might have bought the compromised products. However, it is unknown if any of them have claimed that the chocolates made them sick.
This year in April, salmonella was also found in Kinder chocolate eggs produced at a Ferrero plant in Belgium, which led to 369 people getting infected by the bacteria. Belgian authorities forced Ferrero to suspend its production after it downplayed the risks. The manufacturer’s factory in Arlon was permitted to reopen earlier this month, but only under very strict guidelines that included careful inspection of the raw materials and finished goods to ensure that they met all requirements for food safety.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that lives in animal and human intestines. Humans become infected with it through the consumption of contaminated water or food and manifest itself through symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.