Lactalis traces Salmonella contamination to drying tower

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/Freer Law
Picture: iStock/Freer Law

Related tags Milk

Lactalis believes it has traced the source of Salmonella contamination in infant formula to one of its drying towers.

The firm said information from authorities and results of its investigations allowed it to identify a probable cause of contamination on one of the drying towers in Craon from 1-6 May this year.

It has undertaken additional and reinforced cleaning and disinfection measures.

S. Agona sickens 26 in France

milumel lactalis
Lactalis recall

Salmonella Agona has sickened 26 infants of less than six months old in different regions of France.

Of the families of 18 infants who have been contacted, eight were hospitalised but all have now recovered.

La direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) said investigations have confirmed the link of contaminations with consumption of infant nutrition products from LNS Group.

A warning of suspected contamination of three infant milks led the company to issue a recall on 2 December. At the time, 20 infants were reported to be ill.

Lactalis extended the withdrawal-recall measures of infant nutrition products to include those manufactured since February 15, 2017.

The firm said consumption of the products should be stopped and replaced with a substitute.

Picot SL, Pepti Junior, Milumel Bio and Picot Riz branded products are involved. A list of affected items and alternatives can be found via this link​.

Not all products are affected because they are not manufactured in the same production room or on the same site.

Authorities step in

Comment from Andrew Litchfield, partner at law firm, Gowling WLG

"Food product recalls are notoriously challenging by their very nature but the complexities involved take on a different dimension once global in scope and when several different brands and routes to market need to be covered. In this case, the vulnerability of the target consumers make it critical that the recall is comprehensive, timely and effective in each jurisdiction."

French authorities suspended the marketing and export of certain infant nutrition products manufactured in 2017 at Craon by the LNS group (Lactalis).

They judged measures taken by the company were ‘not likely to control the risk of contamination’ of products intended for young children so decided suspend them.

Santé publique France and le Centre national de référence des Salmonella said between August and November several infants were identified as being infected with Salmonella serotype Agona.

Le Centre national de référence (CNR) des Salmonella at Institut Pasteur said it was the identification of eight cases in eight days which started the alert.

Some product were also sent to Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali and Togo, according to the RASFF portal.

From 2012 to 2016 le CNR des Salmonella identified 65 cases of S. Agona per year. Previous outbreaks have been linked to powdered milk in infants in France in 2005 and peanut snacks or oat cereals.

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1 comment

Contamination source

Posted by F. Tracy Schonrock,

The company did not provide information on the potebtial causes of the contamination. Was it improper cleaning, an air filtration problem, a structure problem such as cracks in the drying tower wall, or other issue. This information wouldbe beneficial to help other drying facilities to protect their production processes and the consuming public..

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