Strauss to resume production at salmonella-contaminated plants

ISRAEL— Strauss group, the Israel-based confectionery manufacturer, has been authorized Israel’s Health Ministry country’s government to gradually resume production at candy factory after a salmonella outbreak.

In April, the Israeli government suspended production at a candy factory in Nof Hagalil where Salmonella was detected on a production line and in the liquid chocolate used to make finished products.

Elite branded items such as cakes, wafers, snacks, rice cakes, chewing gum, and toffee candies were recalled from countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Strauss had already shut the plants after a routine company inspection found traces of salmonella which was apparently introduced by pigeons entering the factory through holes in the roof.

Now the company can resume production after the site was “refurbished, with investments in infrastructure and changes to production and quality control processes”.

Extensive sanitary improvements have been made, including waterproofing of roofs, thorough cleaning, replacement of some equipment, replacement of floors and sealing of cracks. In addition to this, each batch will now be checked before it leaves the factory, the ministry said.

In the next few weeks, we will be focusing on the gradual operation of production lines under tight control, and once we have built up enough inventory, we will begin marketing the products

Eyal Dror, Strauss Israel CEO Tweet

It said resumption of manufacturing operations and inventory build-up will be phased. Strauss said full manufacturing operations will be restored in coordination with the Ministry of Health and will take several months.

Strauss Israel CEO Eyal Dror said: “In the next few weeks, we will be focusing on the gradual operation of production lines under tight control, and once we have built up enough inventory, we will begin marketing the products.”

The first products to be manufactured as production is renewed will be gluten-free waffles and wafers. Elite’s best-known brands are expected to return to the shelves gradually.

Strauss Group’s profit has been heavily dented by the recall of its products and the subsequent closure of the affected production plant according to figures from its financial results for the first half and second quarter of 2022.

The company showed growth in some areas but this was offset by a decline in sales in the confectionery division and the Sabra hummus business, both of which operated on a partial scale in the half-year. The firm also reported a decline in operating profit.

The confectionery recall in April and adjustments at Sabra’s Virginia plant, coupled with the rising costs of raw materials, shipping, and energy, led to a drop of 59.1 percent in operating profit to US$62.6 million in the half-year.

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