Salmonella scare sparks global baby milk recall

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Lactalis has launched a global recall of its infant milk products over fears of salmonella contamination
Lactalis has launched a global recall of its infant milk products over fears of salmonella contamination

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French dairy processor Lactalis has ordered a global recall of its baby formula milk over fears of salmonella contamination.

Products were also recalled in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan following reports from French health authorities that 26 infants had become sick from the bug since early December.

The Food Standards Agency denied claims made by French news agency AFP that products comtaminated with salmonella had been sold in Britain.

Symptoms of salmonella contamination include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever, according to the National Health Service.

The Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRG) identified a link between the contamination and the consumption of Lactalis’ infant nutrition products.

‘Not sufficient’

Lactalis’ initial recall of 12 products was deemed “not sufficient”​ to manage the contamination risk, according to French regulator the Ministre des Solidarités et de la Santé (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health).

The company has now recalled hundreds of milk powders worldwide under the Milumel, Picot and Celi brands. A full list of the recalled products can be found here.

Company spokesman Michel Nalet told AFP nearly 7,000t of production may have been contaminated, but was unable to say how much still remained on the market, had been consumed or was in stock.

He said the company traced the outbreak to an evaporation tower at a factory in the town of Craon, northwest France.

Precautionary measure

All products made there since February 15 this year have been recalled, Nalet said. The company was disinfecting all of its machinery at the factory as a precautionary measure.

In 2015, Lactalis was rated the world’s second largest dairy company with an annual turnover of £9.34bn by Rabobank – beaten only by food giant Nestlé.

The Lactalis salmonella outbreak comes nine years after the infant milk industry was hit by a scandal in China.

In 2008, six babies died and about 300,000 fell ill after Chinese manufacturers added the chemical melamine to their infant milk powders.

Meanwhile, in June, Mars Chocolate UK and Mars Ireland recalled some Galaxy, Malteasers Teasers and Minstrels chocolate products, after routine testing revealed the presence of salmonella.

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