French retailers sold baby milk after salmonella recall

Baby food scandal hits France

Baby food scandal hits France

"The aim of this radical step is simple: to avoid delays, problems in sorting batches and the risk of human error", Le Maire told a news conference on Friday.

Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Auchan and Systéme U all continued to offer Lactalis baby milk after a recall had been issued last December.

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.

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.

Privately-held Lactalis, which has annual sales of around 17 billion euros ($20 billion), has addressed the salmonella contamination by halting operations at the factory where it started.

The recall affected goods carrying the Picot, Milumel and Taranis brands destined for French and overseas markets and France's consumer protection agency DGCCRF has begun an investigation and carried out 2,500 checks so far.

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.

Just back from a three-day official visit to China with Macron, Le Maire said he had discussed the recall with his counterparts in Beijing, adding: "The best response is transparency".

Spokespeople from the supermarkets and Lactalis have all apologised for the mistake.

Meanwhile, Leclerc is known to have sold nearly 1,000 of the affected products.

The Minister then called on the managers, "each of them, the manufacturers, the intermediaries, the distributors ... to shed light on the omissions found and to make sure that none of the products concerned in this case are in the market and in stores ".

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