Salmonella has been found in the world’s largest chocolate factory run by Swiss giant Barry Callebaut in the Belgian town of Wiese, the company said on Thursday.
A company spokesman told AFP that production at the factory, which makes wholesale bulk liquid chocolate for 73 candy makers, has ceased.
“All products produced since testing have been blocked,” spokesman Korneel Warlop said.
“Barry Callebaut is currently contacting all customers who may have received the tainted product. Wiser’s chocolate production will remain suspended until further notice.”
Most of the products found to be contaminated are still on site, he said.
But the company has contacted all customers and asked them not to ship any chocolate-based products at its Wieze factory in Flanders, northwest of Brussels, since June 25.
Belgian food safety agency AFSCA has been informed and a spokesman told AFP it had launched an investigation.
The Wieze factory does not produce chocolate for direct sale to consumers, and the company has no reason to believe that any tainted merchandise made by customers is on the shelves.
A few weeks ago, the chocolate that makes Kinder at the Ferrero factory in Arlon, southern Belgium, was contaminated with salmonella.
Belgian health authorities announced on June 17 that they had approved the restart of the Italian giant’s factories for a three-month testing period.
The Swiss Barry Callebaut Group supplies cocoa and chocolate products to many companies in the food industry, including industry giants such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestlé or Unilever.
World No. 1 in the industry, with annual sales of 2.2 million tonnes in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Headquartered in Zurich, the group posted a turnover of CHF 7.2 billion and a net profit of CHF 384.5 million ($402 million) in the past financial year.
The group has more than 13,000 employees and more than 60 production sites around the world.