Barry Callebaut has flagged “early August” for the potential phased restart of production at the chocolate supplier’s Belgium factory where salmonella was detected in June.

The Switzerland-based B2B business said the “cleaning of the chocolate lines affected by the entry of salmonella-positive lecithin in its factory in Wieze, Belgium, is progressing well”.

Barry Callebaut had suspended production at the factory on 29 June after the company identified the presence of salmonella two days earlier linked to a “batch” of the lecithin ingredient from a supplier. The company duly informed the FAVV, Belgian’s food-safety authority, noting in a statement today (15 July) that it is in “continuous collaboration with them”.

The company added: “The first cleaned chocolate lines are foreseen to restart production as of early August 2022, with a gradual ramp-up to full capacity over the following weeks.”

Barry Callebaut had previously offered assurances that no tainted products had reached the consumer. “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,” the company said on 1 July.

Unfortunately, that was not the case in a completely separate incident in Belgium, when Italy-based confectionery maker Ferrero instigated a recall of Kinder chocolate products after hundreds of cases of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium were linked to its Arlon plant.

Belgium’s food-safety body ordered the closure of the facility early in April, and following an in-depth investigation and cleaning, the plant started a phased production programme on 4 July.