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Barry Callebaut announced that it had suspended production at the Wieze site until further notice and blocked all products manufactured since the time of testing (June 25).

The factory produces liquid chocolate in wholesale batches for a number of big names in the confectionery manufacturing, including Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever. It is not yet known if any affected products were made for the UK market.

Contaminated ingredient

A statement from the manufacturer identified lecithin – an emulsifier used in chocolate production – as the source of the contamination. The root cause of the contamination has yet to be discovered.

“Barry Callebaut will now take the time to continue with the very diligent root cause analysis – keeping the FAVV​ [Belgian Food Authorities] informed in the process​,” said a spokesman. “When that is completed, the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before resuming the production process.”

The discovery of contaminated products at the factory on Monday (27 June) comes after Ferrero recalled Kinder products in the UK due to an outbreak of salmonella at its Belgian plant.

Raw materials

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control investigated a potential link between the outbreak and contaminated raw material traced to a contaminated buttermilk tank at the plant in Arlon.

considering that the average time from production to retail is approximately 60 days, the first identified case in the UK on 21 December 2021 could not be explained by the contamination detected in the Belgian processing plant in December, the ECDC claimed.