Dairy products company Lactalis has admitted that some of its products may have been contaminated for more than ten years. The company has been in the middle of a scandal that has led to the recall of millions of boxes of powdered milk.
One of its factories was closed back in December after it was found that contamination had started there. In January, the company announced that it would recall 12 million boxes of powdered baby milk from supermarkets in 83 countries. The recall came just days after reports said some supermarkets and stores were still selling the recalled products.
Outbreaks In 2005 and 2017
Lactalis CEO Emmanuel Besnier said in a newspaper interview published earlier today that tests had shown that the factory involved in the recent scare, was also responsible for the outbreak twelve years ago. The 2005 outbreak affected 146 children. The Craon factory was not owned by the company at the time. The factory is currently closed and Mr. Besnier said a few weeks ago that he hoped it would restart production in a few months. The factory employs more than 300 people.
38 cases have been reported from last year’s outbreak. 37 of those cases involve babies in France while the other case was reported in Spain. Greece has also seen one case but that one hasn’t been confirmed. On January 17, French authorities raided some of Lactalis sites over the salmonella scare.
Hundreds of Lawsuits Filed
The Lactalis CEO also said something similar in another interview, mentioning that the possibility of the babies that consumed tainted milk over this period cannot be ruled out. The company, which is one of the largest dairy groups in the world, has already recalled the products but the scandal appears to be far from over.
According to reports, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the company over the baby milk scandal. The lawsuits include some of the families who say their children got sick after drinking the milk.
Several supermarkets in France have admitted that some of the milk stayed on their shelves after it was withdrawn by the company. The lawyers representing the families affected also said a few hours ago that they plan to file lawsuits against the supermarkets that continued selling the products after the recall.
The recent recall includes 83 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. The company does not sell those products in North America. Mr. Besnier said this will cost the company hundreds of millions of euros.