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Salmonella found in world’s largest chocolate factory

#Salmonella #worlds #largest #chocolate #factory

Production has been halted at the world’s largest chocolate factory owned by Swiss giant Barry Callebaut in the Belgian town of Wieze after it was found to be infected with Salmonella, the company announced on Thursday.

A company spokesman told AFP that production at the factory, which makes liquid chocolate in wholesale batches for 73 customers who make confectionery, has been halted to protect them.

To date, there have been no reports of chocolate consumers being infected with Salmonella, which causes salmonellosis, a disease that causes diarrhea and fever but is dangerous only in the most extreme cases.

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

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

Most of the products discovered to be contaminated are still on the premises, he said.

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

“Food safety is of paramount importance to Barry Callebaut and this contamination is quite exceptional. We have a clearly defined food safety charter and procedures,” the company said.

The Belgian food safety agency AFSCA has been informed and a spokesman told AFP that they have launched an investigation.

An AFSCA spokesman said investigators were “collecting all information to trace the contamination”.

The Wieze plant does not manufacture chocolates for direct sale to consumers and the company has no reason to believe that contaminated goods from customers have yet reached store shelves.

– Green light –

The scare comes a few weeks after a case of salmonella-contaminated chocolates at the Ferrero factory in Arlon in southern Belgium, which makes children’s 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 many companies in the food industry with cocoa and chocolate products, including industry giants such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle and Unilever.

As the world leader in the industry, annual sales in fiscal year 2020-2021 were 2.2 million tons.

In the past financial year, the Zurich-based group generated net income of CHF 384.5 million (US$ 402 million) on sales of CHF 7.2 billion.

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

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