Baby formula recalled over salmonella contamination

Damien Meyer—AFP

Lactalis is pulling millions of products made since mid-February and shipped to markets including China, Greece, Pakistan and Britain, according to a company list.

Lactalis, one of the world's biggest dairy producers, said that "nearly 7,000 tons of products" may have been contaminated but it is now unable to decide the amount that is still on the market, or in stock.

Company spokesman Michel Nalet told French news site AFP almost 7,000t of production may have been contaminated, but was unable to say how much still remained on the market, had been consumed or was in stock.

The symptoms of salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and fever.

Lactalis is one of the world's biggest producers of dairy products.

Experiments found mice that consumed allergy-triggering foods like eggs and peanuts passed on protective antibodies to their offspring through nursing.

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The study also shows how a "biological mechanism" could strengthen tolerance to certain foods, paving the way to new allergy treatments for at-risk infants made from purified antibodies.

The company has taken precautionary measures to disinfect facilities at a plant in northwest France, believed to be the source of the salmonella contamination, company spokesman Michel Nalet told media.

The recall follows the salmonella infection of 20 infants in France this month, followed by identification of a salmonella agona bacterial infection of five more infants this week.

Lactalis is a privately held company headquartered in Laval, western France.

That caused distrust in locally produced infant formula and benefited foreign suppliers such as Nestle, Abbott, Danone - and Lactalis, a family-owned company which had global sales of 17 billion euros ($20 billion) in 2015.

Its other notable brands include President and Galbani cheeses and Parmalat milk.

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