Medical Xpress reports that French prosecutors have opened a probe into salmonella contamination and a major international recall of baby milk produced by dairy giant Lactalis, a legal source told AFP on Tuesday.
The investigation will focus on possible charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others but also possible cheating and failures in carrying out a product recall, the source said.
Reports of some 20 children falling sick after consuming Lactalis powdered milk—sold under several different brand names in France and abroad, including Picot and Milumel—first emerged in early December.
The company, one of the world’s largest producers of dairy products, ordered a first major recall on December 10 of nearly 7,000 tonnes of packets produced by a contaminated factory in Craon, northwest France.
At the time, it said it did not know how much of the potentially dangerous powder had been consumed or was in shops around the world and it announced a second, wider recall on December 21.
The group has now recalled all of its production from the Craon factory since February 15, blaming the contamination on renovation work carried out earlier this year.
The company believes the salmonella outbreak can be traced to an evaporation tower used to dry out the milk at the factory it acquired in 2006.
The plant had suffered salmonella contamination the previous year.