Recall of French baby milk products extended to 83 countries

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against French dairy group Lactalis by families who say their children were struck down with the infection

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against French dairy group Lactalis by families who say their children were struck down with the infection

A salmonella scare at a French dairy giant has led to a recall of 12 million boxes of baby milk products across 83 countries.

"We must take account the scale of this operation: more than 12m boxes are affected", he said, adding that distributors would no longer have to sort through the produce to find the contaminated powder.

The company Lactalis first recalled products from 30 countries in December, but company president Emmanuel Besnier confirmed the problem was worse than first thought.

Besnier was summoned to the French finance ministry on Friday.

"I can not 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", Le Maire said.

Besnier said: '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".

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.

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.

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.

Inspectors had failed to find the salmonella bacteria that had been detected by Lactalis' own tests in August and November.

French dairy group Lactalis have been inundated by parents taking legal action over claims their children were left sick as a result of using the product.

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