Vienna — Austria’s food minister says authorities will close a chocolate factory in the northern town of Valerios and a cafe owned by a former employee that were found to be illegally storing and selling chocolate, a move the company says will cause financial losses.
Austria is a member of the European Union and is home to some of the world’s most renowned chocolate makers.
But the country has been struggling to attract new customers in recent years, leading to a sharp drop in sales.
The Valerio factory in Valerias district was one of three found to have illegally stored and sold chocolate, said the company’s chief executive, Joerg Schulz.
He also said the cafe had opened an account for the purpose of selling chocolate.
The Valeriors cafe, named after a famous Valerian wine that dates back to the 12th century, has been open for about a year and a half, he said.
The closure of the Valeriolas chocolate factory and the closure of another cafe owned and operated by the same person in the town of Terenczi, on the Austrian border, was a major blow to the small city, said Schulz, who also runs the chocolate-making company Valerius.
“Valerios has been an important market for us for many years.
We can’t afford to lose this business,” he said in a statement.
Schulz said the Valers chocolate factory had been in operation for about five years and sold products from Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Austria-Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania.
The company has been selling the chocolate to the local government in Valers.
Valerio has been in business for about 15 years and it has been run for about six years by the Valeros family, according to Schulz and the Valericis.
He said the government had approved the plan to close the chocolate factory.
Valeria, located in the southern part of the country, has a population of about 1,300 and is the country’s second-largest city.
The city has also been a major supplier of chocolate to Europe and beyond.
In 2013, the Austrian government decided to stop importing and distributing the European cocoa, which has a high level of cocoa content.
Austria has also imposed strict import restrictions on certain European products such as milk and chocolate.