PARIS (Reuters) - Dairy group Lactalis said on Friday it was recalling one of its infant formula brands as a precautionary move as the product was supplied by the same Spanish factory linked to several salmonella cases among babies in France.
The company said its LNS unit was withdrawing 16,300 tins of “Picot AR” infant formula sold in French pharmacies since Nov. 29, following a wider recall issued by fellow French firm Savencia’s Sodilac division.
“We are applying a principle of maximum precaution and underline that no health alert has been issued regarding Picot AR and that all product tests have been normal,” Lactalis said in a statement.
Other products from the Picot range were not supplied by the same factory and so were not affected by the recall, it said.
Sodilac has recalled all products under its Modilac brand after the French health authorities linked the contamination of four babies with salmonella with the consumption of Modilac formula supplied by a factory in Spain.
In an update, France’s public health agency said a total of seven cases of the ‘salmonella poona’ virus in babies between late August and Jan. 10 were now suspected of being due to consumption of Modilac product from the Spanish site.
Four of the babies had been treated in hospital but all were later discharged, it said.
The alert comes a year after a massive recall of infant formula by Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy group, after dozens of babies contracted salmonella.
The alert, linked to a factory in northwest France, drew criticism about a lack of transparency at Lactalis and led the company to close permanently one of its production lines.
The disruption to its infant formula production in France led it to start using the Spanish factory for its Picot AR brand, a spokesman said.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz, editing by Louise Heavens