Strauss gets permission to reopen chocolate factory after Salmonella shutdown

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The Strauss Group has received permission to restart a factory in Israel that has been closed for months due to findings of Salmonella.

The confectionery manufacturing site in Nof Hagalil will gradually resume production after a thorough cleaning of the factory and investment in infrastructure.

Food inspectors from the Israeli Ministry of Health have authorized the resumption of operations after an audit. Agency officials will continue inspections of the factory as part of the return to full production. The Strauss Group said this ramp-up could take several months.

Approval was suspended in April after a recall of Elite-branded products and a link to an outbreak prompted an audit that revealed a number of issues at the plant, including Salmonella on a production line and in liquid chocolate used to make finished products. Elite products have been recalled in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Recent Strauss Group financial results figures for the first half and second quarter of 2022 show that the incident had a major impact on profits.

Range of improvements
Environmental, finished product and raw material sampling programs have been enhanced so that every batch is now inspected before leaving the factory.

Infrastructure upgrades include roof repairs, production line cleaning, equipment replacement and new floors. The quality team has been expanded with adjustments to quality control and assurance processes.

The first products manufactured are the wafer and Baflot brands. These items will be back on the shelves in a few weeks. Elite’s other brands are expected to re-enter the market over time.

Outsourced production at facilities in Israel and other countries has been bolstered to enable earlier sourcing of certain products. Dark Parra and Splendid chocolate brands are currently produced in factories in France and Belgium specializing in chocolate.

In August, Strauss established an independent committee that will review the Salmonella incident, discuss action plans and make recommendations to the company’s board.

Eyal Dror, CEO of Strauss Israel, said: “We have renovated the two Elite factories in Nof Hagalil and resume production after strengthening and increasing management and quality control and assurance processes to ensure that all products are safe for consumption.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of people who participated in the work to restore the functioning of the factories. In the next few weeks, we will focus on gradually running the production lines under strict control, and once we build up enough stocks, we will start releasing the products.

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