The French government has withdrawn infant milk manufactured by the Lactalis group, intended for France and foreign markets, because of a risk of contamination by salmonella.
While Lactalis had already recalled twelve references of infant milks manufactured in its factory in Craon (Mayenne) on December 2, the Ministry of Economy and Finance published Sunday a list of more than 600 lots that are recalled, prohibited to the consumption and export.
The quantities involved are “huge”, acknowledged a spokesman for Lactalis, who presents himself as “world leader in dairy products”.
Bercy explains in his statement that the measures taken by the group since December 2 are “not likely to control the risk of contamination” by these bacteria.
This previous booster was ordered after Salmonella contamination of 20 infants under 6 months of age who had consumed these products.
However, five new cases of salmonellosis were reported in infants this week, one of which had consumed a rice milk that was not among the recalled products on 2 December. “These children are fine,” reassured Bercy.
Salmonellosis is a food poisoning that ranges from mild gastroenteritis to more serious infections. They are potentially more dangerous for young children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.
The investigations carried out since December 2 “have made it possible to identify and confirm the link between these contaminations and the consumption of infant nutrition products from the LNS group’s production lines” (Lactalis Nutrition Santé), Bercy said.
Lactalis spokesman spoke of a “probable cause of contamination on one of our drying towers (from the Craon plant) in the period from 1 to 6 May”.
“As a precaution, it was decided to proceed to a broader recall of all products manufactured since February 15,” he added.
Question have also been raised on the Craon plants’ workplace safety procedures.