Friday, 17 August, 2018

France's Lactalis forced into new recall in baby milk scare

Employees walk in front of the entrance of the French dairy group Lactalis headquarters in Laval western France Employees walk in front of the entrance of the French dairy group Lactalis headquarters in Laval western France
Lora Ball | 13 January, 2018, 03:53

The government ordered the recall and a halt to the sale of the products last month.

Dairy group Lactalis is to widen a product recall to cover all baby milk manufactured at its Craon factory in northwest France, after a salmonella contamination, Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.

It has been particularly embarrassing for the government after President Emmanuel Macron pushed food exports during a state visit to China this week.

Several markets on Tuesday admitted to selling French baby-milk maker Lactalis' products that could have been possibly contaminated with salmonella virus.

The Eurosurveillance report, signed by 16 scientists at the Pasteur Institute as well as France's public health agency, notes that the contaminated Lactalis products were exported "to 66 countries, including 12 in the European Union".

The Minister then called on the managers, "each of them, the manufacturers, the intermediaries, the distributors ... to shed light on the omissions found and to make sure that none of the products concerned in this case are in the market and in stores ".

Carrefour said its recall covered 94,959 products but 434 items were sold after the recall.

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"We have to win back the trust of our customers", he said.

It was only in December, after around 30 infants fed Lactalis milk had fallen ill, that the health ministry sounded the alarm.

"The state. had to take over from a company that failed to act, one which is exclusively responsible for the quality and safety of its products", Le Maire said. Means must be found not to repeat situations of this kind, "he underlined".

Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

At least 35 infants in France have now been diagnosed with salmonella poisoning.

The company took internal recall procedures which led to the removal and destruction of more than 36,000 products but said the 52 products had "escaped the vigilance" of its teams.

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