Macron Calls in Retailers in Widening Tainted Milk Scandal

Baby food scandal hits France

French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

Lactalis Nutrition Santé recalled over 600 batches (more than 7,000 tonnes) of products manufactured at a factory in Craon from 15 February a year ago.

France's finance minister has threatened to levy sanctions after major supermarkets admitted selling possibly contaminated baby milk.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described the lapse as "unacceptable behaviour, which should be punished".

Hypermarket chain Casino, which also owns the Franprix and Geant franchises, was the latest to come forward on Thursday, saying it had sold a total of 363 items covered by the recall.

French retailers are now being drawn into the scandal as consumer advocates excoriate them for being insufficiently thorough in pulling the products.

"This case is serious", Le Maire said. Several days later the company recalled 720 more batches of its products.

The recall covers a range of powdered milk marketed globally under the Milumel, Picot and Celi brands, and affects products shipped outside of France.

Baby food scandal hits France

He said no date to lift the ban could be set "while we have not exactly and precisely identified the source of the contamination, and before it has not been clearly identified and removed", Travert said.

In December it received three recall messages from Lactalis concerning infant nutrition products.

Le Maire said he would meet French supermarket operators later on Thursday and meet Lactalis management on Friday to discuss the matter.

The group stopped all activities at the site on 8 December and 250 of the 327 workers are subject to partial unemployment measures since the start of this week.

Some of the retailers concerned have accepted joint responsibility, but it's still not clear how the recall was bungled. Salmonella can cause severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and sever dehydration.

In France, 35 infected children have been reported, and among the 18 who were hospitalised, all have been released and are doing fine, the health agency said.

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