One of the largest food product manufacturers in Israel, Strauss Group announced on Tuesday that a chocolate factory had resumed production once again.
It had been shut down for salmonella contamination for months, but the company said that numerous Elite chocolate products were once more returning to shelves after they had been recalled back in April.
Strauss said that these include chocolate spread, chocolate bars as well as wafers.
Some of the other popular items that had been recalled previously included the Ta’ami, Pesek Zman and the Twist chocolate bars.
The company said that these items would also be returning to the shelves within weeks. According to Strauss, production has resumed at their factory in Nof Hagalil.
It said that they had made significant investments for ensuring the safety and quality of the products. Eyal Dror, the chief executive of Strauss, said that they were pleased to be returning to the shelves.
The CEO said that they had redefined their work procedures in the last few months and had taken action for ensuring high levels of safety and quality.
The executive further said that they had done so by conducting research into some of the world’s leading chocolate factories.
A recall had first been announced by Strauss of a number of popular chocolate products back in late April. These were produced by Elite, its subsidiary company, and there had been concerns about salmonella contamination.
It was a huge recall and turned out to be the biggest food recall to have ever occurred in Israel. At the time, six people had to be hospitalized, as they were suspected of salmonella poisoning caused by Strauss goods.
The initial recall was soon expanded by the company, as they pulled all of the products, including toffee candies and gums, which were produced at their Nof Hagalil facility.
The Health Ministry shut down the factory after it found that its operations had some ‘fundamental defects’.
A report was released by the Health Ministry in May, which highlighted a series of failures and oversights that it said could have resulted in the spread of salmonella in the Strauss factory.
A range of issues were cited in the report that were blamed on Strauss. These included the absence of a director of food safety as well as an infiltration of pigeons that might have played a role.
Other factors included the construction work done at the factory without considering its impact on production and improper thawing procedures for dairy fats that were used to product chocolates.
In August, the Health Ministry conducted an audit and gave its approval to Strauss to resume its operations gradually.
Some of the improvements that have been made at the Nof Hagalil factory include making upgrades to a sampling system for raw materials and finished products.
Strauss also said that they had designated some areas of the factory as ‘sensitive’ zones that require proper safety procedures and dress codes.
Sanitation improvements have also been made, including filling cracks, replacing floors and equipment and sealing roofs.