Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut paused operations at one of its massive factories because of a salmonella outbreak, the company confirmed Thursday. Photo by Barry Callebaut
June 30 (UPI) -- One of the world's largest chocolate producers is shutting down operations at one of its massive factories because of a salmonella outbreak, the company confirmed Thursday.
Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut is pausing operations at its factory in the Belgian town of Wieze, the company said in a statement.
The company says it discovered the salmonella in lecithin, which is used in all of its chocolate products, leading to the decision to stop production.
"For Barry Callebaut food safety is paramount. Our robust food safety programs in place allowed us to quickly identify lecithin as the source of the contamination," reads the statement.
"Barry Callebaut informed the Belgian food authorities 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. We are currently reaching out to all customers who may have received impacted products. The chocolate production in Wieze will remain suspended until further notice."
It's not clear yet if any of the affected products actually made into the hands or mouths of consumers.
"So far it's looking good, but the mapping is still work in progress," a company spokesperson told POLITICO.
The business-to-business chocolate producer said that, out of precaution, it is asking its customers to "block any shipped products."
Chocolate processors Neuhaus, The Belgian Chocolate Group, Guylian and Mondelez are shutting down their production lines either partially or fully after receiving potentially contaminated shipments, according to Belgian publication De Tijd.
Barry Callebaut traces the company's routes back 175 years and calls itself the world's leading manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products. The company did $7.9 billion in sales during the last fiscal year.