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No chocolate from salmonella-hit plant entered food chain: Swiss firm

Swiss firm Barry Callebaut said Friday that no chocolate contaminated with salmonella was shipped to clients, a day after halting production at the world’s largest chocolate factory in Belgium.

“Based on internal investigation, Barry Callebaut confirms that no chocolate products affected by the salmonella-positive production lot in Wieze, Belgium, entered the retail food chain,” the company said in a statement.

It added that following the completion of analyses all chocolate production lines in Wieze will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming production.

Swiss group Barry Callebaut is the world’s largest supplier of cocoa and chocolate products to the food industry, supplying companies such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle and Unilever.

The company had said Thursday the Wieze plant does not make chocolates to be sold directly to consumers and that most of the products discovered to be contaminated were still on the site.

It added that 72 of the 73 clients of the liquid chocolate produced at the facility had confirmed they had halted deliveries of potentially contaminated chocolate in time to prevent any hitting the shops. It was waiting for the response of the final company.

Exposure to salmonella bacteria can result in salmonellosis, a disease that causes diarrhoea and fever but is only dangerous in the most extreme cases.

The scare comes a few weeks after a case of chocolates contaminated with salmonella in the Ferrero factory in Arlon in southern Belgium manufacturing Kinder chocolates.

Barry Callebaut employs more than 13,000 people and has more than 60 production sites worldwide.