French supermarkets admit to selling salmonella contaminated Lactalis products after recall

France laments ‘dysfunction’ in baby milk recall

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.

A total of 35 infants were infected with salmonella in France after drinking milk or another baby food product made from this plant.

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.

Le Maire fired harsh criticism against Lactalis before the press conference, calling it a "failing company".

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.

Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Auchan, Cora, Casino and Système U are among retailers that said items that should have been withdrawn from shelves had been sold.

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Leclerc has admitted to selling 984 affected products and Auchan said it had sold 52.

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

He said no date to lift the ban could be set "while we have not exactly and precisely identified the source of the contamination, and before it has not been clearly identified and removed", Travert said. Salmonella can cause severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and sever dehydration.

According to a report published after the recall, French food safety inspectors failed to detect salmonella contamination at a plant belonging to Lactalis, three months before the company carried out a major recall of baby milk.

Le Maire said he would meet French supermarket operators later on Thursday and meet Lactalis management on Friday to discuss the matter.

It is not the first time the baby milk formula industry has been affected by a health scare.

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