Barry Callebaut, the Belgian factory that is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolates, has been found to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, the company announced on Thursday.
The factory in Wieze, Belgium, where the bacteria was discovered is known to produce liquid chocolate in wholesale batches for over 73 clients with confectionary business. It has currently stopped all the chocolate production activities.
"All products manufactured since the test have been blocked, Chocolate production in Wieze will remain suspended until further notice," Barry Callebaut spokesman Korneel Warlop told AFP.
The Belgian-Swiss giant is reaching out to all the clients who might have received the infected products, requesting them to avoid shipping any item made with chocolate produced after June 25 at the Wieze plant.
Fortunately, as per Warlop a majority of the contaminated products did not leave the factory.
Belgium's Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain has already been informed of the discovery and it is conducting an investigation at the site, AFP reported.
The Belgian chocolate maker states that, since the plant does not produce any chocolate product sold directly to a consumer, it is confident that none of the contaminated goods made by its clients would have reached the shop shelves.
As the biggest chocolate producer in the world, with more than 60 production sites worldwide and 13,000 employees, Barry Callebaut's annual sales for the financial year of 2020-2021 was almost 2.2 million tons.
It earned a net profit of 384.5 million Swiss francs ($402 million) as per the fiscal year data of the past year.
The chocolate maker, with its head office located in Zurich, Switzerland, not only provides chocolate products and cocoa to multiple companies in the food industry but, it is also a major supplier of industry giants such as Hershey, Mondelez, Nestle or Unilever.