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Major malfunction in the recall procedures for Lactalis baby milk

13 January 2018

Lactalis, one of the largest diary product manufacturers worldwide, made the nationwide recall in December 2017 after one of the factory's assembly lines was found contaminated with salmonella.

France's Minister of Agriculture Stephan Traver spoke of a "major malfunction" in the process of recalling milk-based Lactalis products today after distributors had announced that they had sold some of the products that should have been removed from shelves because of Salmonella contamination.

French retailers are now being drawn into the scandal as consumer advocates excoriate them for being insufficiently thorough in pulling the products.

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.

"This is a serious matter and there has been unacceptable behavior that should be punished", Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said at a press conference earlier Thursday.

"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.

"This hasn't been taken seriously enough", Jean-Yves Mano, president of consumer association CLCV said on the radio station France Info Thursday. Several days later the company recalled 720 more batches of its products.

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

Recalled infant products by Lactalis include formula sold under the brands Picot, Milumel Bio, and Pepti-Junior.

The group stopped all activities at the site on 8 December and 250 of the 327 workers are subject to partial unemployment measures since the start of this week.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain, and are extremely risky for infants.

It could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others.

Major malfunction in the recall procedures for Lactalis baby milk