Just several months after a salmonella contamination outbreak at a Belgian Ferrero factory caused up to 324 salmonella cases in Europe, a new outbreak has been detected in the factory of Belgian-Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, forcing the manufacturer to shut down production.
All chocolate bars produced at the factory in Wieze, East Flanders after 25 June have been withdrawn from sale, the company said in a statement published on 30 June.
On 27 June, the company discovered the presence of salmonella bacterium in products manufactured at its factory. “Strong food safety procedures quickly identified lecithin as the source of contamination,” the company explained.
After detecting the contamination, Barry Callebaut informed the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) and stopped all production lines within the factory. Chocolate made after the contamination has also been blocked from sale.
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The company has now contacted its customers informing them not to put the affected goods on their shelves. Until an investigation is concluded, no further production will take place. Once the cause of the contamination is found, “production lines will be cleaned and disinfected before the resumption of the production process,” the company underlined.
If a mass contamination occurs as a result of bacteria at the Barry Callebaut factory, the company may have its production licence removed. On April 8, following the Ferrero-salmonella incident, AFSCA revoked Ferrero’s production licence at its Arlon factory to protect consumers. It is now expected that Ferrero will resume production by early July.