Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy corporation, is removing 12 million boxes of powdered baby formula from more than 80 countries in response to an outbreak of salmonella. This is an expansion of the company’s initial recall in December 2017 involving products in 30 countries. Criminal investigations have been announced, as the company has been accused of hiding the discovery of salmonella at its factory and delaying its recall. Young children are particular vulnerable to salmonella. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention salmonella kills about 380 people in the U.S. each year.
The baby milk industry was shaken a similar worldwide scare in 2008 when Chinese manufacturers were found to be “bulking” their product with an industrial chemical. Six infants died and an estimated 300,000 became ill from the product. Companies like Lactalis benefited from the scare as parents turned to other companies for baby formula. In response to contamination issues, the Food and Drug Administration set new standards for formula manufacturers, which requires testing for salmonella.
Angry parents of children who have been affected have begun filing civil suits. The company, which believes that the salmonella outbreak can be traced to an evaporation tower used to dry out the milk –has closed its factory for cleaning and vowed to “compensate every family which has suffered”. The company is denying that any of the affected have been imported to the United States. However, our firm is continuing to monitor the situation.
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