Powdered baby milk recalled in 83 countries after salmonella scandal

Powdered baby milk recalled in 83 countries after salmonella scandal

The company Lactalis first recalled products from 30 countries in December, but company president Emmanuel Besnier confirmed the problem was worse than first thought.

"They know that everything has to be removed from the shelves", Besnier said.

The Lactalis group is one of the largest dairy product producers in the world with $21 billion in annual sales.

Besnier, who was summoned to the French finance ministry on Friday, promised compensation for all the families affected.

He said that the consequences of this health crisis for consumers, including babies under six months, were at the forefront of his mind.

Lawsuits have been filed by parents who say their children fell ill after drinking the formula.

"It is for us, for me, a great concern", he told the Journal du Dimanche.

So far, French officials have reported 35 cases of children getting salmonella from the powder, one case has been reported in Spain, while another is being investigated in Greece.

An association representing victims says the authorities are underestimating the number of cases.

While his family are France's 11th wealthiest, according to a 2017 ranking by Challenges magazine, the dairy tycoon has long shunned the public limelight and schmoozing with politicians. Its products include Président butter, Société roquefort, and Galbani ricotta and mozzarella in Italy.

Two brands of powdered baby milk, Picot and Milumel, were recalled internationally after reports of children falling sick.

Commenting on the fact that local media reported about the salmonella bacteria detected by Lactalis own technicians at the site in Craon, northwest France, in August and November, the CEO pointed out that the dairy giant had never tried to hide the salmonella outbreak, adding that the company received the information about possible contamination just by December 1.

The company has said they believe the contamination was caused by renovation work at their Celia factory in Craon, in north-west France.