The FSSAI has received an alert from the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) regarding Salmonella agona contamination in infant milk formula manufactured by the French company ‘Lactalis Group’. The symptoms of salmonella infection include abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhoea and fever.
The French Authorities have advised the withdrawal and recall of 12 batches on the product in question on the 4 December, 2017. However, by 10 December, 2017 the withdrawal and recall was further extended to over 600 batches of the infant formula that had been manufactured from February 2017 to 10 December, 2017. At least 40 countries have been identified by the French authorities, which could have imported the product. These countries include Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina, Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Georgia, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong SAR (China). Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. Seychelles, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan (China), Togo, the Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam and Yemen. All these countries have been informed of the salmonella contamination in the infant formula.
Though there is no report of the import of the contaminated French infant formula product in India, yet the possibility of the product reaching consumers through online sales or by other means cannot be ruled out. Keeping this factor in mind, the FSSAI has brought the INFOSAN warning to the notice of the public and all stakeholders. This will prevent any inadvertent consumption of the implicated infant formula.
According to news reports, the first few cases of infant sickness from Lactalis products were reported in France at the beginning of December. These products were suspected to be contaminated with the salmonella Agona (Salmonella enterica Subsp.enterica serovar Agona). Later it came to notice that there were more cases of infant sickness but not from the consumption of the 12 products originally listed. A second list was issued with 600 batches of the contaminated products. The company has stated that the contamination in the infant formula products was most likely to have come from a contaminated spray tower. The company has meanwhile halted production to perform additional cleaning and disinfection measures so as to prevent any further contamination.