Barry Callebaut has announced that it has suspended production at the Wieze site until further notice and blocked all products manufactured since the time of testing (June 25).
The factory produces liquid chocolate in wholesale batches for a number of big names in confectionery, including Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever.
Based on an internal investigation, Barry Callebaut has confirmed that no chocolate products affected by the salmonella positive production batch have entered the retail food chain.
A statement from the manufacturer identified lecithin – an emulsifier used in chocolate production – as the source of contamination. The root cause of the contamination has yet to be discovered.
“Barry Callebaut will now take the time to continue the very diligent root cause analysis – keeping the FAVV [Belgian Food Authorities] informed in the processa spokesperson said. “When this is complete, the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming the production process. »
A spokesperson for Mondelez said it had carried out a complete inventory of its production sites where this mass of chocolate was supplied.
“As a precautionary measure, we have temporarily halted production lines in some impacted factories in Europe, as well as deliveries to customers, but were able to restart production in all but one bakery site where, as a precaution, we decided to perform additional cleaning, ” said the spokesperson.
“Based on our analysis, we are confident that neither our Mondelēz production sites in the UK and Ireland are affected, nor the products we have imported for sale in these markets.”
Food Standards Agency incident manager Tina Potter said she was urgently working with partners in the UK and Europe to establish more details and that products would be recalled “if we identify unsafe foods likely to be on the market”..
The discovery of contaminated products at the factory on Monday June 27 comes after Ferrero recalled Kinder products in the UK due to an outbreak of salmonella at its Belgian factory.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has been investigating a potential link between the outbreak and contaminated raw materials found in a contaminated buttermilk tank at the Arlon factory.
Considering that the average time from factory production to retail is around 60 days, the first case identified in the UK on December 21, 2021 could not be explained by the contamination detected in the processing plant Belgian in December, said the ECDC. “This suggests that if the Belgian processing plant was the only source of infection, contamination in the production line occurred earlier,” he stated.
Meanwhile, in May, meat processor Cranswick confirmed a salmonella outbreak at its Hull poultry facility.