35 infants sick with Salmonella: France to probe Lactalis

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.

Outbreak of Salmonella Agona infections linked to internationally distributed infant formula – France

Disease Outbreak News of the World Health Organization reports that on 2 December 2017, an increase of cases infected with the Salmonella Agona strain was identified by health authorities in France in young children aged under six months. Subsequent investigations identified an outbreak of Salmonella enterica serovar Agona associated with infant formula products manufactured by the Lactalis Nutrition Santé group in France.

As of 21 December, 35 confirmed cases of Salmonella Agona infections among infants aged less than six months have been identified in different regions of France. Sixteen infants have been hospitalized but all have fully recovered and no deaths have been reported.

The outbreak was associated with consumption of four different brands of infant formula, including products designed for infants with special medical needs. On 10 December, Lactalis Nutrition Santé withdrew and recalled over 600 batches (more than 7000 tonnes) of implicated products that were manufactured from 15 February 2017 to present. The implicated infant formula products have been distributed internationally to more than 50 countries and territories.

On 21 December 2017, Lactalis Group has conducted a new recall including all infant and nutritional products manufactured or packaged in the Craon plant since 15 February 2017. Efforts to trace the distribution of products included in this expanded recall are underway and will be communicated to affected countries through INFOSAN as they are identified.

French authorities ordered the suspension of marketing and exports and the recall of several infant formula products manufactured by the Lactalis Nutrition Santé group since 15 February 2017. On 9 December, health authorities issued three alerts to pharmacists and health facilities in France to stop delivering the products concerned. Recommendations for possible appropriate substitutions are published on the website of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health (see link below).

As of 15 December 2017, the recalled infant formula products have been exported to the following 48 countries (including France) and territories: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Congo, Cyprus, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Gabon, Georgia, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong SAR (China), Iraq, Kosovo1, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan (China), Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The products have also been distributed in the French overseas territories and departments.

Working closely with the International Network of Food Safety Authorities (INFOSAN) Emergency Contact Point in France, the INFOSAN Secretariat has informed the INFOSAN Emergency Contact Points (and National IHR Focal Points) in the recipient countries outside of the European Union (EU) of the relevant distribution details to facilitate their investigations, recalls and risk management measures. Countries within the EU have been informed directly through the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).

Affected products present a risk for serious illness in infants (a susceptible at-risk group for serious disease and complications) that consume the product. Investigations are ongoing by French authorities to identify the outbreak’s source. Similar outbreaks have happened previously, despite stringent control measures being in place. Past outbreaks have been related to other manufacturers and multiple geographical locations.

Powdered infant formulas are not sterile products. Salmonella is prevalent in raw ingredients and can survive under harsh, dry conditions for lengthy periods of time. Preparing formula with tepid water can allow for rapid growth/multiplication of the initial low level Salmonella contamination, which may, in turn, cause serious illness and outbreaks among infants.

WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on France based on the current information available on this event.

If children who have consumed these products exhibit symptoms, such as diarrhoea with or without fever, parents are recommended to contact a doctor as soon as possible. Detected cases of Salmonella Agona should then be reported to national health authorities.

Consumers are advised to follow the FAO/WHO guidelines for the safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula, available online (see link below).

In case substitution of some of the affected formula is not available, the French authorities have recommended to heat the prepared formula for two minutes at 70°C and let it cool down to 37°C before serving it to infants. This would also inactivate Salmonella bacteria. This could be used as an interim practical

26 infants sick with Salmonella from baby formula: French order recall

Baby milk maker Lactalis and French authorities have ordered a global recall of millions of products over fears of Salmonella bacteria contamination.

Lactalis, one of the largest dairy groups in the world, said it has been warned by health authorities in France that 26 infants have become sick since Dec. 1.

The French company, one of the world’s largest dairy groups, said it was warned by health authorities in France that 26 infants have become sick since Dec. 1.

According to a list published on the French health ministry’s website, the recall affects customers in countries around the world, including: Britain and Greece in Europe, Morocco and Sudan in Africa, Peru and Colombia in South America and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in Asia. The United States, a major market for Lactalis, is not affected.

Company spokesman Michel Nalet told The Associated Press on Monday that the “precautionary” recall involves “several million” products made since mid-February.

Lactalis said in a statement that the 26 cases of infection were linked to products branded Picot SL, Pepti Junior 1, Milumel Bio 1 and Picot Riz.

How is it precautionary when 26 babies are sick?

It said it is “sincerely sorry for the concern generated by the situation and expresses its compassion and support to the families whose children fell ill.”

The health scare started earlier this month when Lactalis was told that 20 infants under six months of age had been diagnosed with salmonella infection. The company ordered a first recall that has been extended to more products at the request of French authorities following new reports of infections.

Lactalis is a privately held company headquartered in Laval, western France. It has 75,000 employees in 85 countries and annual revenues of about 17 billion euros ($20 billion). Its other notable brands include President and Galbani cheeses and Parmalat milk.

Bacteriophage treatment decontaminates infant formula

A phage showed strong antimicrobial activity against a type of foodborne bacterium that often kills infants after infecting them via infant formula. The research was published Oct. 23 online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

750px-PhageExterior.svgIn the study, the phage, called “CR5,” showed high antimicrobial activity against the bacterium, Cronobacter sakazakii, as well as against several other species of Cronobacter, which can also cause dangerous illness, says coauthor Sangryeol Ryu, professor in the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology at the Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Seoul National University in Korea.

The research was conducted using infant formula that had been contaminated with C. sakazakii. “Interestingly, CR5 killed C. sakazakii quickly, and no C. sakazakii was detected in the infant formula after 10 hours had passed,” said Ryu.

Ryu said that the phage is safe for humans, noting that his analysis of its genome revealed neither toxin gene nor virulence factor. In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents in foods. But the agency does not allow the use of antibiotics in infant formula.

Bacteriophages are abundant in the environment, which means they are ecologically friendly, said Ryu. “They infect and kill only bacteria, which means they could be used as novel biocontrol agents and even as natural food preservatives,” he added, noting that other food-borne pathogens could also be controlled, by other types of phages.

Cronobacter, the target bacterial genus of the phage, CR5, is a family of closely related species that cause illness in people of all ages. While infection is rare in the US, these bacteria kill up to 40 percent of infected infants. Additionally, those that survive can face long-term neurological problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Heretofore, C. sakazakii-contaminated infant formula has been considered an unsolved problem because antibiotics cannot be used,” said Ryu, adding that C. sakazakii has been known to have multiple antibiotic resistance genes. “In this study, we proved that C. sakazakii-phage CR5 is an efficient biocontrol agent in infant formula. Therefore, this bacteriophage treatment is a promising approach to solve this problem.”

Arrest in NZ infant formula poison threat

A 60-year-old New Zealand businessman has been arrested over threats to contaminate infant formula with 1080 poison.

fonterrababyfeature-300x204The Auckland man has been charged with two counts of blackmail, NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush told a media conference.

He will appear in Manukau District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The arrest comes after police executed five search warrants in Auckland and the Rangitikei district on Tuesday morning.

Anonymous letters were sent to Fonterra and Federated Farmers in November last year along with small packages of milk powder laced with a concentrated form of 1080.

They contained threats to contaminate infant and other formula with the poison unless New Zealand stopped using 1080 for pest control by the end of March.

More than 50,000 tests failed to reveal any contamination.

From the Salmonella in low moisture foods file: Hong Kong authorities find contamination in infant formula

According to a talk I saw FDA food safety and D- and Z-value guru Don Zink give earlier this year, infant formula producers have cleaned-up their act, microbiologically speaking. There used to be a bunch of Cronobacter sakazakii (or is that Enterobacter sakazakii?) floating around in the plants, but over the past ten years routine sampling has apparently found little in the final products. Don didn’t talk a lot about Salmonella in the ingredients used in those products.

Salmonella can be a problem with low-moisture foods (like peanut butter, dried spices), and now Dutch infant formula. According to HKSAR Government, health authorities are asking parents to avoid TwoBebes Growing up Milk from the Netherlands.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) today (July 19) urged parents not to let their toddlers consume a kind of powdered formula for young children manufactured in the Netherlands, which might contain Salmonella. The trade should also stop selling the product concerned.

"The CFS received notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the European Commission (EC) that a kind of dietary fibre (Galacto-oligosaccharide, GOS), produced in Korea, was detected with Salmonella by the Netherlands authorities," a CFS spokesman said.

"Investigation revealed that the dietary fibre had been supplied to the manufacturers of powdered formula for infants/young children in the Netherlands. The powdered formula they produced may, therefore, also be contaminated," he added.

Quoting the information provided by the EC, the spokesman said that one kind of powdered formula for young children, which might be affected, has been exported to Hong Kong.