Ottawa

500 chocolate workers off the job in Smiths Falls

About 500 employees of the Hershey chocolate plant in Smiths Falls are temporarily off the job because of a health scare involving some of the factory's products.

About 500 employees of the Hershey chocolate plant in Smiths Falls, Ont., are temporarily off the job because of a health scare involving some of the factory's products.

The eastern Ontario town's largest employer shut down production and issued a recall of 25 products after a routine inspection inside the plant detected salmonella on Thursday night.

"We're all hoping the disruption of production not taking place is minimized and employees are back at work as soon as possible," Mayor Dennis Staples told CBC News over the weekend.

A sign outside the Hershey factory tells visitors: "The Chocolate Shoppe is closed."

There's no word on when workers might be back on the job.

Stephanie Moritz, a spokesperson with the Hershey Company in Pennsylvania, couldn't give a specific date.

"Our goal is to reopen the plant as soon as we're confident the issue has been addressed," Moritz told CBC Newsworld on Monday.

Hershey Canada Inc. and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are now trying to track down the source of the problem, but a spokeswoman has said it was linked to an "'externally sourced ingredient" in chocolate.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has not received any reports of anyone becoming sick from eating Hershey's products.

The plant in Smiths Falls produces 100,000 chocolate products a year, including Hershey Creamy Milk Chocolate With Almonds, Oh Henry!, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Glosette nuts and raisins and various baking products, including chocolate chips.

The product lines affected by the recall were produced between Oct. 15 and Nov. 10, with date codes ranging from 6417 to 6455 listed on the back of each package.

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