Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

The initial recall only concerned products made since February 2017.

The tough measure reflects high-level frustration at the botched handling of the crisis after France's biggest supermarkets - including Carrefour, Auchan and Leclerc - this week said that some Lactalis products subject to recalls in December still found their way onto their shelves.

An infant who fell sick after drinking milk from the French group Lactalis contaminated with Salmonella bacteria has been reported in Spain and another case is being investigated in Greece, French health authorities said Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron added his voice to calls for those responsible to be punished.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said on January 5 that one infant in Spain had fallen ill with a salmonella infection linked to contaminated Lactalis baby milk and another case in Greece was thought to be related.

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".

Lactalis Nutrition Santé recalled over 600 batches (more than 7,000 tonnes) of products manufactured at a factory in Craon from 15 February previous year.

Hypermarket chain Casino, which also owns the Franprix and Geant franchises, was the latest to come forward on Thursday, saying it had sold a total of 363 items covered by the recall.

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

In December it received three recall messages from Lactalis concerning infant nutrition products.

"I can not guarantee that right now there isn't a single tin of baby milk left on a shelf in a giant warehouse or in a pharmacy", Le Maire said. Means must be found not to repeat situations of this kind, "he underlined".

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain, and are extremely risky for infants. Several days later the company recalled 720 more batches of its products.

Lactalis is under investigation over the affair and could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others.

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