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

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The government ordered the recall and a halt to the sale of the products last month.

"There has been unacceptable behaviour, which should be punished", he told a news conference.

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

French President Emmanuel Macron deflected blame Thursday in the latest chapter of a dairy scandal that has embarrassed the French government, major supermarkets and a dairy giant. The baby milk powder was recalled previous year after a number of children fell ill. The health scare in China caused distrust in locally produced infant formula and benefited foreign suppliers such as Nestle, Danone and Lactalis.

The recall affected goods carrying the Picot, Milumel and Taranis brands destined for French and overseas markets and France's consumer protection agency DGCCRF has begun an investigation and carried out 2,500 checks so far.

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Just back from a three-day official visit to China with Macron, Le Maire said he had discussed the recall with his counterparts in Beijing, adding: "The best response is transparency".

On Thursday, a spokesman for Lactalis, Michel Nalet, apologised once again to parents, adding that the firm was working "in ideal collaboration" with French officials to contain the outbreak.

The products from the French dairy company Lactalis are feared to have been contaminated with salmonella.

Desouches claimed the recall was complex and rejected the suggestion that Systéme U had taken too long to respond. Earlier today, it announced that it was temporarily laying off 250 of the 327 staff employed at the site in Craon.

More than 1,000 products were sold after the recall, according to the markets.

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