France announces extended recall of Lactalis diary products

France laments'dysfunction in baby milk recall

Baby food scandal hits France

Earlier this week, several major French retailers, including Carrefour, E. Leclerc, Auchan, Casino, Intermarche and Systeme U, admitted having sold suspected products in spite of the recall.

That health scare caused distrust in locally produced infant formula and benefited foreign suppliers such as Nestle NESN.N, Danone (DANO.PA) and Lactalis. A further 2,500 checks will be carried out from next week.

France's consumer protection agency ordered a halt to sales of products from the site.

Just back from a three-day official visit to China with Macron, Le Maire said he had discussed the recall with his counterparts in Beijing, adding: "The best response is transparency".

"The aim of this radical step is simple: to avoid delays, problems in sorting batches and the risk of human error", Le Maire told a news conference on Friday. "The state, on the 9th of December, stepped in for a company which failed in its actions and which, I re-emphasize, bears the sole responsibility for the quality and safety of the products on sale", he said.

Lactalis rejected criticism of its response, saying it had collaborated closely with the authorities.

France's biggest supermarket chains said they sold some Lactalis baby food products after a recall by the dairy giant over concerns they could be contaminated with salmonella.

But even after that, the products were still available at supermarkets and other retailers in the country.

Lactalis spokesperson Michel Nalet, during a Thursday press conference, offered no clear explanation for what went wrong, but said that the scale of the recall was unprecedented in the dairy industry and that the group was investigating.

A judicial investigation is taking place in France over the contamination and a group of French parents of affected infants said on Friday that they were considering a joint lawsuit.

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