Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella
Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella
Baby food scandal hits France
13 January, 2018, 03:48
French President Emmanuel Macron deflected blame Thursday in the latest chapter of a dairy scandal that has embarrassed the French government, major supermarkets and a dairy giant.
Lactalis, one of the world's largest producers of dairy products, in December issued a recall of all products made at its factory in Craon, northwest France , after discovering salmonella bacteria at the site. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday that the anti-fraud unit DGCCRF would undertake 2,500 additional checks next week.
Lactalis - whose Picot, Milumel and Taranis brands were affected by the recall - has stopped operations at a factory in northwestern France in order to try and eliminate the risk to the public.
Système U said it had sold 384 boxes of potentially impacted milk after the recall procedure on 21 December and Cora admitted it had sold 72 boxes. Closely-held grocers Systeme U and E. Leclerc have also admitted that some of the products got through to consumers.
"This is a major dysfunction in the withdrawal and recall by the operators, who bear responsibility", Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert told reporters.
"The Greek case has not, but the signs are there", he said, adding that so far only phenotype testing had been carried out to compare the bacteria strain of the Lactalis product with the strain in the child.
In December 2017, at least 35 infants in France fell ill after being fed tainted products.
Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
A government report last week said food safety inspectors had failed to detect Salmonella during a routine inspection, three months before the recall.
Calling Lactalis' practices "unacceptable", Macron said that "food security of all French and European citizens is a priority that must be guaranteed at the highest levels".
It is not the first time the baby milk formula industry has been affected by a health scare.
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