World’s largest chocolate plant shuts down after salmonella discovery

Chocolate lovers, brace yourselves: Barry Callebaut just shut down its chocolate plant in Brussels – billed as the world’s largest – after it discovered salmonella in a batch of chocolates on Monday. The suspected contamination was in the lecithin used as an emulsifier. Since lecithin is used in almost every type of chocolate made at the plant, the entire operation was shut down as a precaution.

In a statement, the company said “Barry Callebaut informed the Belgian food authorities (FAVV) 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.” It’s not clear whether any consumers became ill after eating any contaminated products.

This is the second time this year that a major chocolate manufacturer has had a salmonella outbreak. Three months ago a factory owned by Ferrero that makes Kinder-brand chocolates was shut down over links to several cases of salmonella. Let’s hope there aren’t any other shutdowns soon, or chocolate lovers like myself might have to break into the emergency rations!

Kidding aside, experts predict that the prevalence of food-borne outbreaks from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli is likely to increase over the next few decades as a result of climate change. Most of the food safety concerns revolve around fresh fruits and vegetables, but with incidents like this happening with seemingly increasing frequency in factories like Callebaut’s, it appears that no food product is immune from potential contamination. Let’s all be careful out there!

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  • sanfrannative  on  July 1, 2022


  • averythingcooks  on  July 1, 2022

    The recent JIF peanut butter recall also due to salmonella is further evidence of these food borne outbreaks extending well beyond fresh foods……I know this is VERY “small potatoes” in a world full of pressing & heartbreaking issues, but Jif has still not reappeared on the store shelves in my town.

  • cookbookaddict2020  on  July 1, 2022

    were there other brands than Callebaut produced at the plant, do we know yet?

  • MirandaAK  on  July 3, 2022

    They’ve confirmed that none of the potentially contaminated product made it into the retail supply chain

  • maestra  on  July 5, 2022

    Avoid Callebaut if you can afford to. Check out this list of ethical, slave-free chocolate companies:
    I’ve been working my way through different companies for the past couple of years trying to find a standard for home baking. Guittard was the winner for bulk-sized solid chocolate, but they are suddenly gone from the list. I can’t find any press as to why, and other websites that are not frequently updated still include them.
    Yes, Callebaut does produce for other brands. Tony’s Chocolonely lost its slave-free status due to working with Callebaut, but they seem to have convinced some (not all) organizations that their chocolate is produced completely separately from other Callebaut products.

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