Salmonella causes the world’s largest chocolate factory to shut down

Salmonella causes the world's largest chocolate factory to shut down

Salmonella causes the world's largest chocolate factory to shut down. Image Hershey Twitter.

The factory, run by Swiss company Barry Callebaut, in the Belgian town of Weize has shut down it has been confirmed on Thursday, June 30.

Millions of people could be facing a chocolate shortage after a salmonella outbreak stopped production at the world’s biggest chocolate factory HLN has confirmed.

The factory supplies chocolate products to huge brands including Nestle, Hershey, Mondelez and Unilever.

Barry Callebaut produces liquid chocolate in wholesale batches and has contacted 73 of its customers it believed could be affected.

The Belgian factory does not make chocolates to be sold directly to consumers.

Korneel Warlop, a spokesman for Barry Callebaut, said: “All products manufactured since the test have been blocked.”

“Chocolate production in Wieze remains suspended until further notice.”

Salmonella infection is caused by a family of germs (bacteria) that live in the gut of many birds & animals. It is therefore present in foods leading to human gut infections.

The diarrhoea that results can be severe lasting several days.

Cases are usually only seen in individuals or their families but can become larger outbreaks.

It affects all ages but can be more severe in the very young or elderly or those in hospital.

The time taken from picking up Salmonella to becoming ill (incubation period) is between 6 hours and 3 days but can be longer. Often it is within 12-36 hours.

Carriers can have the germ in their stools for many months.

Symptoms usually take the form of:

  • Loose stools (usually without blood or mucous)
  • Abdominal (tummy) pain
  • Fever, headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick) and/or vomiting
  • General tiredness

These symptoms usually clear up within 3 – 7 days but a small number of people take weeks to recover fully.

Blood poisoning, abscesses & joint pains are more rare complications.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.