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Food Safety Focus (190th Issue, May 2022) – Article 3

Salmonella in Chocolate

Recently, there has been a worldwide recall of a brand of chocolate products produced in a factory in Belgium, after the same strain of Salmonella Typhimurium was found in the factory as well as in over 150 Salmonella food poisoning cases across Europe and America. While large outbreaks of Salmonella infections caused by tainted chocolate are not commonly reported, they have been known to impact many individuals over large areas over a certain period of time due to global distribution of affected products.

In chocolate, the high fat content protects Salmonella from stomach acid, allowing the bacteria to live and cause food poisoning at a low infective dose. Furthermore, to preserve the texture, chocolate is often processed at temperatures inadequate to kill Salmonella. Therefore, the bacteria can remain in chocolate if any of the materials used or the manufacturing environment is contaminated.

In response to the incident, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has instructed the importer to recall the affected products, stepped up testing of related products, and notified the public and the trade of the incident through Food Alerts and Trade Alerts. The CFS will continue to liaise with overseas authorities and take appropriate actions.