Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut temporarily halted production at its factory in Wiese, Belgium, on Monday, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The Wieze Factory is the world’s largest chocolate factory, according to the state tourism website Visit Flanders.
“For Barry Callebaut food safety is paramount. Our robust food safety programs in place have allowed us to quickly identify lecithin as a source of contamination,” the company said in the statement, adding that Belgian Food Authorities (FAVV) had reported the incident. .
Lecithin is a fatty substance used to bind other ingredients in chocolate.
The company said it had taken precautionary measures including recalling all manufactured products since the time of testing. Production at Wieze will remain suspended until further notice.
“We are currently contacting all customers who may have received affected products,” the statement said.
In a statement on Friday, Barry Callebaut said any tainted chocolate had “entered the retail chain.”
The company, which generated nearly $8 billion in sales during the 2020-21 fiscal year, produces chocolate for other chocolate makers, including small chocolatiers and big-name brands, although it declined to provide the names of its customers when asked by CNN Business.
“Barry Callebaut will now take the time to continue with a very diligent root cause analysis – keeping FAVV informed in the process. When this is complete, the lines will be cleaned and disinfected before production resumes,” the company said.
– Anna Cuban contributed reporting.