CFS Develops Training to Support Chocolate Manufacturers

December 2, 2023
Source: Commercial Food Sanitation

Over the last three years, the chocolate industry in Europe and the Middle East has been increasingly affected by Salmonella contamination resulting in recalls and prolonged plant shutdowns. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported because of salmonellosis. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, however, around 500 individuals—mostly children younger than 10 years old—became sick after consuming salmonella-contaminated chocolate. Forty percent of them were hospitalized.

During that time, the financial impact of recalls for food manufacturers was estimated to be more than half a billion euros. In addition, brand reputation damage—and production loss due to increased downtime for cleaning—must also be considered.  

Commercial Food Sanitation (CFS) EMEA was approached by several chocolate producers and their business partners to support root cause investigations, deep cleaning protocol development, and cleaning effectiveness verification. 

Given the robustness of chocolate—a low-moisture food product which doesn’t support microbial growth—and the scarcity of wet cleaning regimes, salmonellosis risks in the industry are comparatively low. As a result, many chocolate manufacturers lack proper knowledge about how to effectively deep clean and how to verify hygiene conditions in processing environments.

In July 2022, The Royal Belgian Association of the Chocolate, Pralines, Biscuit, and Confectionary (Choprabisco) asked CFS to program a webinar for their members on how to clean and disinfect assets after a Salmonella contamination. It was attended by more than 100 people from large and small enterprises, and had over 1,500 views on YouTube after the recording was posted.

As demand for instruction increased, CFS developed a new, on-campus training program in Amsterdam specifically for the chocolate industry. Experts with manufacturers including Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ferrero, Strauss Group, and Mondelēz were consulted and found the training to be exactly what the industry needed. The first training session was held in October 2023.

Very first open enrollment Chocolate Training participants at the Amsterdam training facility

The CFS Chocolate Training was a great course. Thank you for making it so practical. It gave me many new ideas and insights.”

Geoffrey Criel
QA Manager
Fuji Oil Europe

Managing Salmonella Contamination Risks in Chocolate is a two-day training that combines classroom sessions with hands-on, practical exercises. Participants learn a structured approach that can be used to manage Salmonella contamination risks in a food manufacturing facility and to establish measures for risk mitigation.

Chocolate professionals will gain a readiness and passion to embrace the challenges of further reducing and controlling food safety risk in their industry. The training’s learning goals include: 

  • Develop knowledge on how to manage Salmonella contamination events in chocolate, including root-cause analysis (RCA) and corrective and preventive actions (CAPA)
  • Make risk-based decisions when developing effective cleaning protocols considering hygienic design
  • Know how to design and implement an effective environmental monitoring program (EMP) 
  • Understand and develop approaches to reduce future contamination risks 

Chocolate manufacturers and processors from the U.S. and Latin America have also shown interest in this training. In 2024, CFS will offer six Chocolate Training sessions in their Hoofddorp (Amsterdam) facility to welcome participants from all over the world.

Is Chocolate Training for you?

Watch the video and learn the details about the training.

Managing Salmonella Contamination Risks in Chocolate Training

Original Publication

© Commercial Food Sanitation 2024