Salmonella bacteria found in Belgian chocolate factory, the world’s largest

The factory of the Belgian-Swiss giant Barry Callebaut in Wieze is the largest chocolate factory in the world. (File)

Brussels:

Salmonella bacteria have been discovered in the world’s largest chocolate factory run by Swiss giant Barry Callebaut in the Belgian city of Wieze, the company said Thursday.

A company spokesman told AFP that production had been halted at the factory, which produces liquid chocolate in wholesale batches for 73 candy-making customers.

“All products produced since the test have been blocked,” said spokesman Korneel Warlop.

“Barry Callebaut is currently contacting all customers who may have received contaminated products. Chocolate production in Wieze will remain suspended until further notice.”

Most of the products found to be contaminated are still at the site, he said.

But the company has contacted all of its customers, asking them not to ship any products they have made with chocolate made since June 25 at this factory in Wieze, in Flanders, northwest of Brussels.

The Belgian food safety agency AFSCA has been informed and a spokesperson told AFP it had opened an investigation.

The Wieze factory does not make chocolates that are sold directly to consumers, and the company has no reason to believe that contaminated goods made by customers have already made it to store shelves.

The shock comes a few weeks after a case of salmonella-contaminated chocolates at the Ferrero factory in Arlon, in southern Belgium, that makes Kinder chocolates.

Belgian health authorities announced on June 17 that they had given the green light to restart the Italian giant’s factory for a three-month test period.

The Swiss group Barry Callebaut supplies cocoa and chocolate products to many companies in the food industry, including industrial giants such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle or Unilever.

The world’s number one in the sector, with an annual turnover of 2.2 million tons in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

In the past financial year, the group, which is headquartered in Zurich, realized a net profit of 384.5 million Swiss francs ($402 million) for a turnover of 7.2 billion francs.

The group employs more than 13,000 people and has more than 60 production sites worldwide.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)