World's largest chocolate factory: No salmonella contamination in Belgian food supply

World's largest chocolate factory: No salmonella contamination in Belgian food supply
The Barry Callebaut production site in Wieze, Lebbeke. Credit: Belga

The world's largest chocolate factory belonging to Belgian-Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut announced on Friday afternoon that no contaminated chocolate entered the Belgian food supply as a result of the salmonella outbreak.

On Thursday, it was announced that production at the factory, located in East Flanders, had stopped after the presence of salmonella bacterium was detected in products manufactured at its factory on 27 June. All chocolate produced at the factory after 25 June has been withdrawn from sale.

"According to our internal investigation, there is no longer a food safety risk. Belgium’s Federal Food Agency (FAVV) is continuing their independent investigation in order to validate this conclusion," Korneel Warlop, spokesperson for Barry Callebaut, said on Friday.

Since the outbreak was confirmed, the company contacted FAVV and all 73 affected companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Poland, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, UK and Italy, that received contaminated products from the Wieze plant.

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The company stated that "thanks to the speed of action" it was able to prevent contaminated products from entering the Belgian food supply.

Barry Callebaut added that it will take proactive measures to ensure it and all other affected food companies can "resume their activities in a safe manner as soon as possible," and that it will give all customers an overview of specific conditions and next steps. It has already started cleaning and disinfecting all its chocolate production lines.

The news comes just a few months after a salmonella contamination outbreak at a Belgian Ferrero factory caused up to 324 salmonella cases in Europe.

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