Chocolate production resumed at Belgian-Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut’s factory in Wieze, East Flanders on 8 August, the company has announced.
At the end of June, all production at the factory, which employs some 600 people, was shut down after salmonella was detected. The contamination is now believed to have been caused by a delivery of products from Hungary, which were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria.
Production will slowly ramp up over the following weeks. The company says that it will slowly increase production before reaching maximum capacity.
“We will be able to start delivering products to our customers this week,” a spokesperson said. “For now, this is only for a limited number of production lines and therefore a fairly low volume.”
As a result of the contamination, the company had to destroy several tonnes of chocolate. The wasted chocolate was used to generate green biogas power for more than 300 families. Fortunately, no salmonella contaminated products ultimately ended up in the hands of Belgian consumers.
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According to the company, which has spent weeks decontaminating after the affected batch, the first deliveries of the product are an “important milestone.” The company states that it is remaining cautious as the machinery has been switched off for quite some time.
The fallout from the “unprecedented” cleaning operation may have repercussions for the rest of the year. Seasonal goods made by the company may not be available for purchase.
“It is not impossible that there will be shortcomings in the offer on the market, certain chocolate products cannot be supplied by Barry Callebaut. These are mainly seasonal products, for example for Christmas. These (goods) are typically made between August and September,” the company warned.