French Dairy Giant Recalls 12Mln Cans of Potentially Poisonous Baby Milk

Galtero Lara
Enero 14, 2018

More than 12 million boxes of powdered baby milk have been recalled in 83 countries over an outbreak of salmonella.

Emmanuel Besnier, scion of the secretive family behind one of the world's biggest dairy groups, was speaking publicly for the first time since an outcry erupted over claims the company hid the salmonella outbreak at a plant making the product.

"We must take account the scale of this operation: more than 12 million boxes are affected", he said.

"[Distributors] know that everything has to be removed from the shelves".

The products have been subject to a recall since December, after salmonella bacteria was discovered at a factory.

"The aim of this radical step is simple: to avoid delays, problems in sorting batches and the risk of human error", Le Maire said.

He also vowed to enhance the sanitary control of the Lactalis products.

Besnier, who was summoned to the French finance ministry on Friday, promised compensation for all the families affected. Consumers in China, a fast-growing market for baby food and dairy products, are particularly sensitive to such scares after melamine-tainted baby milk led to the deaths of six children in 2008.

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Lawsuits have been filed by parents who say their children fell ill after drinking the formula.

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.

An association representing victims says the authorities are underestimating the number of cases.

Mr Besnier added: "There are complaints and there will be an investigation with which we will fully collaborate. We never thought to act otherwise", Besnier said. Its products include Président butter, Société roquefort, and Galbani ricotta and mozzarella in Italy.

Two of those brands, Picot and Milumel baby milk, were the subject of chaotic global recalls issued in mid-December after dozens of children fell sick.

French investigative publication Le Canard Enchaine reported state inspectors had approved the Lactalis site in Craon, France, in September.

The company has said they believe the contamination was caused by renovation work at their Celia factory in Craon, in north-west France.

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