It took six weeks.

This Monday, chocolate production in the Belgian factory of the Swiss giant Barry Callebaut, presented as the largest in the world, was finally able to resume.

due to salmonella contamination had prompted the company to stop its activity.

Three out of 24 production lines have restarted in Wieze (north-west of Brussels) and the first delivery - liquid chocolate - will take place on Monday, company spokesman Korneel Warlop told AFP, adding that the cleaning operations continued on the other lines.

A long cleaning process

“In the coming weeks, we will be able to release more production lines in order to return to a normal level of production.

However, we remain cautious as this operation is unprecedented, with the cleaning and sanitizing process taking a long time,” he said in a statement.

“Ensuring food safety and the safety of our employees remains the highest priority,” he stressed.

The presence of the bacteria had been detected at the end of June in a batch produced in Wieze and lecithin was the source of the contamination, according to the factory which had immediately stopped production and blocked all products produced after June 25.

No contaminated chocolate reached consumers

The Swiss group had indicated that no contaminated chocolate had reached consumers.

It supplies chocolate preparations both to food industry giants such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever, as well as to biscuit factories, craftsmen and pastry professionals.

The Wieze plant employs around 600 people.

The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain "continues to monitor the resumption of production by Barry Callebaut, who must ensure that consumers and business customers are protected from any risk", a spokesperson told AFP. AFP.

Based in Zurich, the group is the world leader in cocoa and chocolate preparations.

Its annual turnover amounted to 7.2 billion Swiss francs for the staggered 2020/2021 financial year (ending August 31) with a net profit of 384.5 million francs.

Its sales volumes amounted to 2.2 million tonnes.


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