French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

Baby food scandal hits France

French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

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.

Speaking on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron promised necessary punishment for those involved.

Initial checks showed that the products were still being sold on 91 locations across France, even after officials announced the ban, said French economy minister Bruno Le Maire.

"There has been unacceptable behaviour, which should be punished", he told a news conference. France's consumer protection agency ordered a halt to sales of products from the site.

"The state took over from a company which failed in its actions", he said. The food was recalled weeks earlier over salmonella poisoning.

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A scandal has erupted in France after baby milk products which should have been removed back in December were found still to be on sale. Authorities say 18 babies were hospitalized before the recall after consuming contaminated products, though they all recovered.

However, the products still managed to find its way to the shelves of large supermarket chains, with retailers selling over 2,200 recalled packages of baby food.

Le Maire has summoned Lactalis for talks on Friday.

A French judicial investigation was launched in December and consumer protection association UFC-Que Choisir said it had filed a lawsuit against Lactalis for alleged fraud.

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