Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella
Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Auchan, Cora, Casino and Système U are among retailers that said items that should have been withdrawn from shelves had been sold.
Lactalis Nutrition Santé recalled over 600 batches (more than 7,000 tonnes) of products manufactured at a factory in Craon from 15 February last year.
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.
Nearly 70 employees are working at nearby sites with others on site to help with maintenance ahead of production restarting.
Emmanuel Besnier, CEO, said more than 12 million boxes have been recalled in 83 countries in an interview with Journal du Dimanche.
Recalled products sold in supermarkets
E.Leclerc said 984 products had been sold in some outlets since 21 December despite 154,843 items being removed from shelves.
It added three product recalls, on different lots, were launched on 2, 10 and 21 December.
Auchan said 52 products had been sold after the recall date in 28 stores.
In December it received three recall messages from Lactalis concerning infant nutrition products.
The company took internal recall procedures which led to the removal and destruction of more than 36,000 products but said the 52 products had ‘escaped the vigilance’ of its teams.
Carrefour said its recall covered 94,959 products but 434 items were sold after the recall.
Système U said it had sold 384 boxes of potentially impacted milk after the recall procedure on 21 December and Cora admitted it had sold 72 boxes.
A Casino spokeswoman told AFP that it had sold 352 items that should have been removed from shelves as part of the recall.
Intermarché said it has opened an internal inquiry to see if any products had been sold after the recall date.
More cases and authority action
Santé publique France said 37 infants from 10 regions in the country ranging from 2.5 weeks to nine months old had been sickened by Salmonella Agona between mid-August and early December.
Of the 36 families of the infants interviewed, 18 were hospitalised and all are now out of hospital.
Recall effectiveness in France is verified by the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF).
The agency said after more than 2,500 checks at various points in the distribution chain it became apparent that recalled products were still being marketed as 91 contained batches of infant milk that should have been removed.
Bruno Le Maire, French minister of economy and finance, said the incident had given rise to ‘unacceptable behaviour that will be sanctioned’.
He called for 2,500 additional checks by DGCCRF to ensure all affected product had been removed from sale.
Le Centre national de référence (CNR) des Salmonella (Institut Pasteur) identified the outbreak at the end of November.
Spain and Greece have reported one case of illness each, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Distribution was to 67 countries including 12 in Europe.
- This article was updated to reflect Emmanuel Besnier's comments to Journal du Dimanche this weekend.