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July 1, 2022

Barry Callebaut: no salmonella-tainted chocolate reached retail

The B2B chocolate group has sent its findings to Belgium’s food-safety watchdog for assessment.

By Dean Best

Chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut said today (1 July) no products tainted with salmonella found at a factory in Belgium have reached retail.

The giant B2B chocolate supplier said yesterday it had stopped output at the facility in Wieze after finding salmonella in a batch of products on Monday.

The Switzerland-based group “detected a salmonella positive production lot” at the plant.

This afternoon, Barry Callebaut issued an update on its investigation into its inventory.

“Based on internal investigation, Barry Callebaut confirms that no chocolate products affected by the salmonella-positive production lot in Wieze, Belgium, entered the retail food chain,” it said.

The company has sent its findings to Belgium’s food-safety watchdog for assessment.

“When the analyses are completed, all chocolate production lines in Wieze will be cleaned and disinfected before [the] production process resumes,” Barry Callebaut added.

Barry Callebaut supplies ingredients to some of the world’s major, consumer-facing, chocolate companies.

A report in Belgian newspaper De Tijd yesterday said Mondelez International, Guylian, Neuhaus and The Belgian Chocolate Group had either had to completely or partially halt production at certain factories as a result of the contamination at the Barry Callebaut site.

Guylian CEO Tom Snick told Just Food today that “potentially affected chocolate” from Barry Callebaut had been delivered to his company’s facility in Sint-Niklaas. Snick said Guylian had “closed all potentially affected production lines had shut down”.

Speaking to Just Food, a spokesperson for Mondelez insisted its production has been unaffected.

“There is no impact [on production], except for one bakery site where we are carrying out further cleaning activities, as a precaution,” the spokesperson said.

“After having implemented all internal necessary controls and track and traces measures, all Mondelez products in the markets are safe.”

Just Food has contacted the other companies mentioned in the De Tijd report for comment. None had returned the request at the time of writing.

The scare comes two weeks after Kinder maker Ferrero was granted “conditional authorisation” from Belgium’s food-safety body to reopen its salmonella-hit plant in Arlon.

FAVV-AFSCA ordered Ferrero to suspend operations at the facility on 8 April after the site was implicated as the source of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium. More than 400 confirmed cases have been reported worldwide from the consumption of the privately-owned Italian firm’s Kinder chocolate products.

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