Health & safety
Barry Callebaut salmonella outbreak: no infected chocolate entered the retail food chain
"After reaching out to all customers supplied with impacted chocolate products, Barry Callebaut can confirm, based on its internal investigation, that no affected chocolate products by the salmonella-positive production lot in Wieze, Belgium, entered the retail food chain," it said in an updated statement over the weekend, adding it had shared its findings with the Belgian food safety authorities
Production at Barry Callebaut’s Wieze plant in Belgium has been halted after salmonella was detected on one of its lines on Monday (27 June)
The group posted an alert on its website and said it has “informed the Belgian food authorities (FAVV) about the incident and has taken the precautionary measure to stop all chocolate production lines and to block all products manufactured since the time of testing”.
The Barry Callebaut factory is one of the world’s largest and this latest scare follows another case where chocolates were contaminated with salmonella in a Ferrero factory, also in Belgium, earlier this year, which has now been resolved.
Barry Callebaut said it is currently reaching out to all customers who may have received impacted products. The chocolate production in Wieze will remain suspended until further notice.
“Our quality experts identified lecithin as the source of the contamination. As lecithin is used in all chocolate production, we have taken the precautionary measure to stop all production lines and to block all products manufactured since the time of testing, while we continue the root cause analysis and risk assessment. Out of precaution, we have also asked our customers to block any shipped products,” the group said in a statement.
There have been no reports so far of any chocolate consumers being exposed to salmonella, which causes salmonellosis, a disease that causes diarrhoea and fever but is dangerous only in the most extreme cases.
"Barry Callebaut will now take the time to continue with the very diligent root cause analysis - keeping the FAVV informed in the process. When that is completed the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming the production process," it said.