(Update) Barry Callebaut has discovered salmonella in its chocolate factory in Wieze. As a precaution the production is suspended. Other chocolate factories are also stopping their production lines.
Production lines are disinfected
Last Monday 27 Barry Callebaut discovered salmonella in products from the factory in Wieze – the largest chocolate factory in the world. The source of the contamination was quickly found: lecithin, an emulsifier used in all chocolate production.
The manufacturer immediately informed the food agency and, as a precaution, halted production. All products made since the test have been blocked. The company has also asked customers to block any products that may have been shipped. All chocolate production lines will be cleaned and disinfected before production resumes.
Customers also affected
There are probably no contaminated products in stores. The contamination does affect other factories, as Barry Callebaut is a business-to-business player that supplies chocolate to dozens of chocolate processing companies in Belgium.
That is why Neuhaus, The Belgian Chocolate Group, Guylian and Mondelez (Côte d’Or), among others, are now stopping all or part of their production as a precaution. If it turns out that they did indeed receive contaminated products, they will have to close down for a few weeks to disinfect the production lines. The timing is a blessing in disguise: the summer is a quiet period for the chocolate industry.
Earlier this year, there was also a salmonella outbreak in another large Belgian chocolate factory. Ferrero‘s production unit in Arlon had to close down in early April after a European salmonella outbreak linked to Kinder Surprise eggs. The manufacturer then received a lot of criticism for its poor crisis communication: the food agency was only informed at a late stage.
In the meantime, the factory in Arlon was completely disinfected and was given permission to start up again. This could happen in the coming days or weeks.