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Savencia unit recalls baby milk in France after salmonella alert

PARIS (Reuters) – Sodilac, a unit of French dairy group Savencia, said it was recalling infant formula sold in pharmacies in France and produced at a Spanish factory due to possible links with salmonella cases among babies.

Sodilac said in a statement it had decided, in agreement with the French authorities, to carry out a precautionary recall of all products under its Modilac brand supplied by the Spanish factory.

This extends beyond the two batches initially connected to the salmonella outbreak that caused four babies to fall ill.

The babies, aged between two and 10 months at the time, became sick with the ‘salmonella poona’ strain of the disease between late August and late December last year, France’s public health agency said in a separate statement.

“The initial investigation, in contact with the parents of the four babies, has shown the consumption, in the days preceding the symptoms, of milk powder of the same brand and produced by the same factory in Spain,” the agency said.

Three of the babies were admitted into hospital and all were later discharged, it said, adding that investigations were continuing with authorities and the factory in Spain.

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 from politicians and consumer groups about a lack of transparency at Lactalis and led the company to close permanently one of its production lines.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Bate Felix and Alexandra Hudson

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