Salmonella: Barry Callebaut, world’s largest chocolate factory closed due to outbreak

Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut on Monday suspended production at its plant in Wiese, Belgium, the company said in a statement Thursday.

The Wieze factory is the largest chocolate factory in the world, according to the state-run tourism website Visit Flanders.

“For Barry Callebaut, food safety is of paramount importance. Our robust food safety programs have enabled us to quickly identify lecithin as a source of contamination,” the company said in a statement, adding that the Belgian Food Control Authorities (FAVV) were informed of the incident. .

Lecithin is a fatty substance used to bind the other ingredients in chocolate.

Employees walk to the Barry Callebaut production site in Wiese, near Brussels, on June 30, 2022.  The Swiss group Barry Callebaut, the world's largest cocoa and chocolate company, announced on June 30, 2022 that it had stopped chocolate production.  at its plant in Wiese (Belgium), declared the largest in the world, after salmonella was detected in a shipment on June 26.

The company said it had taken precautionary measures, including recalling all products manufactured since testing. Production at Visa will be suspended until further notice.

“We are currently reaching out to all customers who may have received affected products,” the statement said.

In Friday’s statement, Barry Callebaut said no contaminated chocolate has “entered the retail food chain.”

The company, which generated almost $8 billion in sales in fiscal 2020-21, makes chocolate for other chocolate makers, including small chocolatiers and established brands, although it declined to name its customers when asked by CNN Business.

“Barry Callebaut will now take the time to continue a very thorough root cause analysis, keeping FAVV informed of the process. When this is completed, the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming the production process,” the company said.

Anna Kuban contributed reporting.