BELGIUM – Production has come to a stand still at the premises of Belgian-Swiss cocoa processor and chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, after detecting Salmonella in samples of its chocolate products.
Analysis at the company’s Wieze site identified Lecithin, an ingredient used in chocolate production to reduce thickness as the source of contamination hence seized production in all the processing lines.
“Not only do we have a food safety charter and procedure in place, we also have over 20 people working on food safety and quality in Europe.
“In our local site in Wieze, we train our people to recognize food safety risks. This allowed us to quickly identify the risk and successfully start the root cause analysis,” the company said in a statement.
Barry Callebaut revealed that it had alerted the Belgian food authority Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), about the incident.
It also informed that they are currently in the process of contacting customers who may have received affected products so they can also block any shipped items that may be affected.
FASFC acknowledged that it had indeed received notification from the chocolate manufacturer and acted promptly by visiting the site.
“We immediately went to the site to start an investigation in cooperation with the factory. If it appears that there is a risk for consumers, we will take the necessary measures.
“In the current state of investigations, internal information from Barry Callebaut shows that the potentially affected products have not reached the consumer but we are continuing to investigate,” said a Spokeswoman.
According to Barry Callebaut, a root cause analysis and risk assessment is ongoing and when this is complete, the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming the production process.
However, it is yet to reveal the type of Salmonella detected. So far, no related illnesses have been reported, says Food Safety News.
Salmonella in chocolate occurrences
Since the beginning of the year, Barry Callebaut’s is the latest incident of Salmonella in chocolate.
In April Ferrero was shut down after an international outbreak of Salmonella tied to its Kinder chocolate.
Ferrero was recently allowed to restart production at its plant in Arlon, Belgium after a large Salmonella outbreak linked to Kinder chocolate led to it being shut down in April.
The monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to Kinder chocolate has sickened almost 450 people including 122 in the United Kingdom, 118 in France as well as four in Canada and one in the United States.
The FDA allowed Ferrero to resume its operations mid-last month under a probationary basis of satisfactory inspection results.
In May, Strauss Group, the largest food company in Israel, also recalled several Elite branded confectionery products due to Salmonella contamination. The company recalled Elite branded items such as cakes, wafers, energy grain snacks, energy chocolate rice cakes, chewing gum and toffee candies of all dates.
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