Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella

Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said the reputation of France's agri-business industry risked being hurt after supermarkets admitted they had failed to remove potentially contaminated baby food products and deepened a health scare. Three dozen children have fallen ill.

Lactalis, among the world's biggest dairy product producers, launched a global recall of its products made at its factory in Craon, northwest France, in December after discovering salmonella bacteria on site. "There has been unacceptable behavior which should be punished", Le Maire told a news conference.

In a later statement Lactalis confirmed the extended recall and pledged to find and eradicate the causes of the salmonella contamination.

Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Auchan, Cora, Casino and Système U are among retailers that said items that should have been withdrawn from shelves had been sold.

Speaking on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron promised necessary punishment for those involved.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, particularly for young children, and the recall risks damaging Lactalis in China. A total of 35 infants were infected with salmonella in France after drinking milk or another baby food product made from this plant. More than thirty babies fell ill after consuming the milk, although none died.

The claim was rebuffed by Le Maire, who told French television: "If there had been ideal collaboration, I wouldn't have had to sign an order on December 9 demanding the recall of more than 600 shipments of baby milk".

Just back from a three-day official visit to China with Macron, Le Maire said he had discussed the recall with his counterparts in Beijing, adding: "The best response is transparency".

A judicial investigation is taking place in France over the contamination and a group of French parents of affected infants said on Friday that they were considering a joint lawsuit.

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