Lactalis has recalled a brand of infant formula made at the same Spanish factory linked to a Salmonella outbreak in France. The withdrawal and recall measure concerns 16,300 boxes of Picot AR milk sold exclusively in pharmacies since Nov. 29, 2018.

Four babies have been sickened by Salmonella Poona with findings pointing to Modilac branded products, marketed by Sodilac, a subsidiary of Savencia SA, as the source. Three other cases are under investigation.

Lactalis Nutrition Santé (LNS) said the Picot AR infant formula is manufactured by an external supplier on the same Spanish production site. Other Picot references manufactured at different production sites are not affected.

The recall is precautionary and no health alert has been reported with all controls being compliant. LNS said it acted without waiting for results of the investigations conducted at the supplier.

The French General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) said it was verifying the effectiveness of recall measures and informing European and foreign counterparts through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) network.

Investigations by the agency are continuing with Spanish authorities to obtain information relating to the traceability of products made at the plant concerned.

Santé Publique France and the National Reference Center for Salmonella at Institut Pasteur have enhanced surveillance for Salmonella Poona cases.

The four confirmed patients, aged between two and 10 months, fell ill between August and the end of December 2018 and three were hospitalized. One of the three possible cases was also hospitalized. The seven babies consist of five boys and two girls living in five different French regions.

Previous Salmonella Poona outbreaks involved 289 cases linked to powdered infant milk in Spain in 2010 and 2011, 907 infections in the United States from Mexican cucumbers in 2015 and melon involving the same two countries in 2000 to 2002.

Lactalis infant formula was linked to a Salmonella Agona outbreak in 2017 that sickened 38 babies in France, two in Spain and one in Greece. Recalled formula was distributed to more than 80 countries. The company was allowed to restart sales of infant formula from the implicated plant in Craon in September last year, almost nine months after it was suspended.

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