French Government calls for global withdrawal of Lactalis formulas.
It took almost ten days for the Government of France to react to the scandal of widespread contamination of powdered formula milks produced by the giant French dairy producer Lactalis.  25 infants in France have become sick after being fed formulas contaminated by the dangerous bacteria Salmonella.
On December 11 the French government finally issued an order for a mandatory withdrawal of over 600 batches, representing over 700 tonnes of potentially contaminated products. This means that all stocks of these products must be returned to the manufacturers and destroyed and that none must be consumed or exported.  The French Health Minister has confirmed that it is fairly rare that the government is obliged to take such ‘massive measures’. It has closed the Lactalis production facilities and demanded that the company takes ‘corrective measures’ before the factory can be re-opened.
The list of all the products withdrawn by the French Ministry of Finance and the Economy includes over 20 countries, as well as France: UK, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, as well as other countries referred to as ‘Africa’ and ‘Asia’. The European Union RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) portal also lists Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Madagascar, Mali and Togo. 
The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), the global citizens network that protects child health, has been raising awareness of contaminated formulas for many years, knowing that contamination can occur along any part of the production and distribution chain. Because of the confusion about where the affected products have been exported to, IBFAN is calling on its member groups to check whether batches are present in retail outlets. Some have already been found in countries not specifically listed, such as Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, at the Codex Alimentarius meeting in Berlin, the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) were being fiercely debated. WHO has clear rules on the labelling and marketing of products intended for babies and the actions governments should take to protect child health and safety . The WHO/FAO Codex Commission sets global trading standards for foods and IBFAN has been working since before 1995 to bring Codex Standards into line with WHO recommendations. Throughout the meeting, the four-person French Government delegation, three of whom represented baby food companies – supported the contention of the United States, that it was not appropriate to refer to WHO policies.
Alison Linnecar, IBFAN’s spokesperson on contaminants:
“IBFAN has been calling for clear labelling that properly warns parents and carers about the inherent risks of powdered formulas. The UK is one of the few countries that requires products to carry instructions that the product should be mixed with water that has been boiled and left to cool to no less than 70 degrees Celsius. WHO recommends that reconstitution with water at this temperature will kill off the majority of these commonly found bacteria which are heat resistant and thus require high temperatures to inactivate/kill them.”
For more information contact:
Dr. J P Dadhich MD (Paediatrics); FNNF; PG-DDN Director – Technical, BPNI, IBFAN Global Council; Sub-regional Representative – IBFAN South Asia, +91-11-27312705; +91-11-27312706 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bpni.org
Patti Rundall, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action IBFAN UK +44 7786 523493 email@example.com www.babymilkaction.org
 The Lactalis Group, headquartered in Craon, Mayenne, France, is a dairy corporation owned by the Besnier Family. It is the one of the largest dairy products groups in the world with an annual turnover of EUR 17 billion (2016) exporting globally. Lactalis-owned brands are systematic Code violators.
 The Salmonella Agona bacteria can cause gastro-enteritis, septicaemia and even meningitis. It can multiply outside the gut and lodge in joints and thus cause secondary infections in articulations. Lactalis says it does self-monitoring and inspection of all batches. The French Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Repression of Fraud claims to make ‘regular checks’
 The list includes product names and batch reference numbers and can be found HERE
 See http://www.leparisien.fr/societe/laits-infantiles-contamines-bercy-etend-le-rappel-a-600-lots-10-12-2017-7444023.php
Countries in the French reference list include the following, but the list uses abbreviations and thus needs further checking: Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Monaco, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Roumania, Serbia, Sudan, Taiwan, UK. EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed gives the Risk Decision as ‘Serious’.