According to Lactalis spokesman Michel Nalet, about 70,000 tons of baby milk products were feared to have been contaminated.
Company spokesman Michel Nalet said that "nearly 7,000 tonnes" may have been contaminated, but the company could not say how much of the product is now on the market, is in stock or has been consumed. The company said it is taking all the necessary measures to disinfect its its machinery in the factory so that no other case of contamination is repeated in the future.
The suspected contamination took place at Lactalis' factory in northwestern France. A full list of the recalled products can be found here.
Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. The bacteria is especially risky for infants and the elderly due to risks of dehydration. The company ordered a first recall that has been extended to more products at the request of French authorities following new cases of infections.
While most people get well without requiring medical treatment, in some cases people with salmonellosis may need to be hospitalized. At the time, 20 infants were reported to be ill. They run the risk of extreme dehydration after becoming ill.
The recall is likely to affect consumers in countries including the UK, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Sudan, underlining the reach of the company and the difficulty in attempting the trace all those at potential risk. It covers hundreds of baby milk powder products marketed globally under the Milumel, Picot and Celi brands. In view of this latest development, French Health authorities have asked parents to check any Lactalis baby formula brands they may have purchased with the specific product lots that have been identified for recalling and to avoid using them.
Some were also destined for regional markets, including Africa and Asia. He said that any salmonella bacteria would be killed by boiling the milk for two minutes.
The contamination of Lactalis products with salmonella is worse than initially thought.