Lactalis has stopped operations at its Craon factory in north-west France to try and eliminate the risk of salmonella to the public. © Google Maps
Lactalis has pledged to remove 12 million boxes of powdered baby milk from supermarkets in 83 countries in response to an outbreak of salmonella.
Chief executive officer Emmanuel Besnier said that all Lactalis products made at the company’s Craon site in north-west France will be recalled in a bid to contain the spread of salmonella.
The move comes after the company was accused hiding the discovery of salmonella at the factory. So far, there have been 37 reported cases of infants suffering from the disease as a result of the outbreak, 35 in France, one in Spain and another suspected in Greece.
A victims’ association predicts that this number could rise much higher as it announced that some French families affected by the recall of baby milk plan to take action against supermarket chains.
A spokesperson for the group said: “It’s been confirmed to me that a certain number of families will file complaints in the coming days against the major supermarket chains.”
Last week, four of France’s largest supermarket chains admitted to stocking infant formula products despite concerns they were contaminated with salmonella.
Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Auchan and Systéme U all continued to offer Lactalis baby milk after a recall had been issued last December. Leclerc is known to have sold almost 1,000 of the affected products.
The French authorities have also come under criticism for their handling of the scare. After meeting Besnier on Friday, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said: “I cannot guarantee that right now there isn’t a single tin of baby milk left on a shelf in a giant warehouse or in a pharmacy.”
Besnier said the recall will be challenging since the company does not know how many baby milk boxes have been consumed already.
Lactalis has stopped operations at the Craon factory to try and eliminate the risk to the public, temporarily laying off 250 of the 327 staff employed at the facility.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018