12 Dec 2017 --- French dairy group Lactalis has recalled its formula milk and baby food following the discovery of salmonella cases in babies and after 26 children under the age of six fell in France earlier this month. The affected Lactalis products have been recalled in France and for export to markets including Europe, Africa, South America and China. The recall covers hundreds of baby milk powder products marketed globally under the Milumel, Picot and Celia brands.
According to the Financial Times, the contamination of Lactalis products with salmonella is "worse than initially thought." Last week five new salmonella cases were reported, including one baby that had been fed a Lactalis product, not on the first recall list. The infants have now recovered.
The French economics ministry has published a list of 620 batches of Lactalis products that have been recalled and banned for both consumption and export.
Company spokesman Michel Nalet told AFP “nearly 7,000 tons” of production may have been contaminated, but the company is currently unable to say how much remains on the market, has been consumed or is in stock. FoodIngredientsFirst has reached out to Lactalis for further comment.
Lactalis believes the salmonella outbreak can be traced to a tower used to dry out the milk powder at its factory in the town of Craon in northwest France, according to AFP. All products made there since mid-February have been recalled and the company said precautionary measures have been taken to disinfect all of its machinery at the factory.
Lactalis, one of the world’s biggest dairy producers, recorded revenues of €17bn last year alone. Since the news broke, the company has apologized for the contamination. Lacatalis spokesman Michel Nalet told BFM Television that the products could be exchanged and that any salmonella bacteria would be killed by boiling the milk for two minutes.
Salmonella bacteria can cause food poisoning and symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. The illness is dangerous for the very young and elderly because of the risk of dehydration.
It is not the first time the baby milk formula industry has been rocked by a health scare – back in 2008 six children died and an estimated 300,000 fell ill after Chinese manufactures Sanlu added melamine to their infant milk powder products.
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