France announces extended recall of Lactalis diary products

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Some 18 babies were hospitalized late past year over the contaminated products, though they all recovered.

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.

The DGCCRF issued a first recall on December 10 after Lactalis discovered salmonella contamination at its Craon factory, halting the sale of several baby food products made there. "There has been unacceptable behavior which should be punished", Le Maire told a news conference.

His comments were echoed by President Emmanuel Macron, who is now on a diplomatic visit to Italy. Lactalis has annual sales of around 17 billion euros The halting of operations at the affected factory has led to a temporary lay off of 250 workers. A number of babies had complained of diarrhea, high fever, and other symptoms after drinking formula produced by dairy giant Lactalis. Authorities say 18 babies were hospitalized before the recall after consuming contaminated products, though they all recovered.

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In a statement on Thursday, Carrefour said it had sold 434 products at risk of contamination since the December 21 recall, but that another 95,000 had been successfully removed from shelves.

If punishment was "required, then there will be punishment", the president said.

Le Maire has summoned company representatives for talks on Friday.

French consumer protection body launched a probe into the controversy.

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