Chocolate production has resumed at the Barry Callebaut factory in Wieze

Production has resumed at the Barry Callebaut chocolate factory in the East Flemish village of Wieze. Production was suspended 6 weeks ago after salmonella was detected at the plant. The resumption of production at what is the largest chocolate factory in the world will be a gradual process. It will be another few weeks before the factory is working at full capacity again. 

In a statement released on Monday, the company said “We will be able to start delivering products to our customers this week. For now, only a limited number of production lines will be operational and therefore only a fairly low volume will be produced. Nevertheless, this is an important milestone”

“In the coming weeks, we will be able to start up more production lines and gradually return to a normal level of production”.

A spokesperson for Barry Callebaut added that “We remain cautious because there are still a lot of uncertainties. We do not know how the equipment will react when it is started up again”.

Several tons of chocolate that was produced at the factory had to be destroyed because of the salmonella contamination. An internal investigation and laboratory tests showed that a batch of lecithin, a raw material used in the production of chocolate, was the source of the contamination. The lecithin came from a Hungarian company and was supplied to the Wieze factory by a third party.

600 people employed at the Weize factory

600 people work at the Barry Callebaut factory in Wieze. It is the largest chocolate factory in the world. The factory supplies chocolate as a raw material to chocolatiers.

"The factory is therefore at the heart of Belgian chocolate production," the company’s spokesman Korneel Warlop told journalists. The products made at Wieze are not sold directly accessible to the general public.

The factory's closure means that there could be shortages of some chocolate products. These are mainly seasonal products, such as the tradition chocolate letters given at the feast of Saint Nicholas (6 December). These are usually produced in August and September. Last weekend the Dutch chocolatier Tony's Chocolonely said that it will not be able to to produce chocolate letters for Saint Nicholas this year due to the temporary suspension of production at Barry Callebaut.

 

 

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