After Recall in April Over Salmonella Concerns, Elite Chocolate Brands Return to Shelves in Israel

The move follows the reopening of the Strauss Group's factory in Nof Hagalil in the north, where the salmonella was discovered

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Haaretz
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The Elite chocolate plant in Nof Hagalil in April.
The Elite chocolate plant in Nof Hagalil in April.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
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Haaretz

Israel's top chocolate manufacturer announced on Tuesday that it is reintroducing several lines of candy to the Israeli market following a nationwide recall earlier this year due to salmonella contamination.

In a statement, the Strauss Group said that products from its Elite chocolate line, including the Parra brand, Pesek Zman and Kif Kef candy bars, would "gradually return to the shelves.” The move follows the reopening of its factory in Nof Hagalil in Israel's north, where the salmonella was discovered. The company said that it has made “significant investments … to ensure the quality and safety of the products at the highest level.”

This summer, Strauss recalled its entire confectionary product line in the wake of preliminary tests indicating widespread salmonella contamination. The company, one of Israel's largest food manufacturers, knew about the salmonella outbreak for almost a week before it issued a recall for the majority of its chocolate snacks.

Strauss said at the time that although it was unaware of any tainted products that actually reached retail stores, it acted responsibly by conducting the largest recall the company had ever initiated. The company said that it had worked in coordination with the Health Ministry.

In the intestines, the salmonella bacterium causes salmonellosis, symptoms of which include diarrhea along with stomach pain, cramping, a high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and sometimes joint pain and difficulty urinating. The symptoms appear between six and 72 hours of exposure, and the illness generally lasts from two days to a week.

There are more than 2,300 strains of salmonella and at least 10 percent of them cause disease in humans. Several of the strains are considered virulent and can cause serious and possibly life-threatening illness, but they are mainly prevalent in developing countries.

"We are happy and excited to return to the shelves. Over the past few months, we have redefined our work procedures and worked to ensure extremely high levels of quality and food safety, based on study carried out at a number of leading chocolate factories around the world and under the guidance of experts on the subject,” Strauss CEO Eyal Dror said Tuesday.

“The process of returning the chocolate production lines to operation included a thorough cleaning, improving some of the infrastructure and renewing the two factories in the Galilee. We are excited to return to the shelves… but it is important to emphasize that the products will return gradually to the shelves in the coming weeks, based on the rate of production and the accumulation of inventory.”

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