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France's Lactalis forced into new recall in baby milk scare

Reuters  |  PARIS 

By Richard and Trompiz

PARIS (Reuters) - French group is widening a to cover all manufactured by a factory at the centre of a salmonella contamination, minister said on Friday.

The move comes as the government seeks to contain reputational damage to France's strategic agri-business industry in overseas markets. Three dozen children have fallen ill in and at least one other in

After talks with management Le Maire said the company would all made at its that were still in warehouses and on store shelves, regardless of the date of manufacture.

"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 conference on Friday.

In a later statement confirmed the extended and pledged to find and eradicate the causes of the salmonella contamination.

Implementing the will be challenging. Privately owned exports its products to dozens of countries across Europe, and

The tough measure reflects high-level frustration at the botched handling of the crisis after France's biggest supermarkets -- including Carrefour, and Leclerc -- this week said that some products subject to recalls in December still found their way onto their shelves.

It has been particularly embarrassing for the government after pushed during a state visit to this week.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, particularly for young children, and the damaging in Consumers in China, a fast-growing market for and products, are particularly sensitive to such scares after melamine-tainted led to the deaths of six children in 2008.

That scandal caused distrust in locally produced infant formula and benefited foreign suppliers such as Nestle, and

"I cannot guarantee that right now there isn't a single tin of left on a shelf in a giant warehouse or in a pharmacy," Le Maire said. "I think this (further recall) is the strongest guarantee we can give."

Le Maire did not say what volume of could be involved beyond the more than 12 million already recalled last month.

The said on Jan. 5 that one infant in had fallen ill with a salmonella infection linked to contaminated and another in was thought to be related.

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

(Reporting by Trompiz and Richard Lough; Editing by David Goodman)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 23:21 IST