Lactalis has been given the green light to restart production of infant milk formula at a plant that was linked to a Salmonella outbreak, but products made there cannot yet be sold.
French authorities agreed to the gradual resumption of packaging and drying activities of infant milk powders at the plant in Craon. However, they did not give a date of when the products would be allowed back in the marketplace.
Infant products manufactured and packaged at the site in the Mayenne department will be subject to enhanced controls to ensure they are safe to be placed on the market. Production was suspended as part of a Salmonella agona outbreak investigation in December 2017.
The outbreak, linked to Lactalis infant formula, sickened 38 babies in France, two from Spain and one in Greece last year. It was the same strain that was behind 141 illnesses in 2005 when the Craon production site was owned by Célia.
The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) was also involved as recalled products were distributed to more than 80 countries.
The restart decision comes more than a month after the first tests on production of powders for adults. The first phase of activity aimed to verify effectiveness of the corrective measures implemented. These products can now be marketed following a restart in late May.
Corrective measures by Lactalis included cleaning, dismantling of equipment and closure of the No. 1 tower, which was at the origin of the contaminations in 2005 and 2017. A self-assessment plan by the company was validated by ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety).
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)© Food Safety News