Lactalis scandal: 83 countries affected by salmonella found in baby milk powder

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 14, 2018

Emmanuel Besnier, the company's CEO, said: "We must take account the scale of this operation: more than 12 million boxes are affected". "They know that everything has to be removed from the shelves".

Besnier was summoned to the French finance ministry on Friday.

Besnier's promise came two days after Lactalis widened a product recall to cover all infant formula made at its Craon plan, regardless of the manufacture date, in an bid to contain the fallout from a health scare that risks damaging France's strategic agribusiness in overseas markets.

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

MILLIONS of powdered baby milk boxes have been recalled amid a salmonella scandal.

He said that the consequences of this health crisis for consumers, including babies under six months, were at the forefront of his mind.

Speaking about the number of lawsuits filed by parents who say their children got salmonella poisoning, Besnier stressed that the company would compensate any families affected.

In France there have been 35 reported cases of infants getting salmonella as a result of using the products.

"There are complaints and there will be an investigation with which we will fully collaborate". "I think this (further recall) is the strongest guarantee we can give".

Created in 1933 by Besnier's grandfather, Lactalis has become an industry behemoth with annual sales of some 17 billion euros (US$20.6 billion), with products including Galbani ricotta and mozzarella in Italy.

With 246 production sites in 47 countries, its list of products also features household names like President butter and Societe roquefort.

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.

Commenting on the fact that local media reported about the salmonella bacteria detected by Lactalis own technicians at the site in Craon, northwest France, in August and November, the CEO pointed out that the dairy giant had never tried to hide the salmonella outbreak, adding that the company received the information about possible contamination just by December 1.

They failed to find the salmonella bacteria that had been detected by Lactalis's own tests in August and November, which were not reported to the authorities. The company said it was not legally bound to report the contamination.

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