Rwanda bans baby milk products from French firm Lactalis

Formula milk-maker at the centre of a salmonella outbreak in France.

Products manufactured by French dairy firm Lactalis painted on the wall of its headquarter in Laval, western France. Lactalis, one of the world's largest producers of dairy products, in December issued a recall of all products made at its factory in Craon. PHOTO | AFP 
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Rwanda has banned the importation and sale of products manufactured by French diary firm Lactalis after some of its baby food items were found to have been contaminated.

The Ministry of Health on Monday urged Rwandans not to consume milk products from the company that was in December forced to recall millions of baby milk items over fears of salmonella bacteria contamination.

Minister of Health Dr Diane Gashumba cited findings by the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), and a subsequent probe by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB).

“The Minister requests all traders with the aforementioned milk, foods and beverages to immediately stop selling them and report them to RSB. The importation and sell of the said products in the country is banned with immediate effect,” said the Health ministry in a statement.

“Any person with a child who consumed the said products and has signs of a running stomach, a fever and stomach-ache is urged to take the infant to the nearest hospital.”

The symptoms of a salmonella infection usually appear 12–72 hours after intake of contaminated foods, and include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sometimes vomiting, according to the World Health Organisation.

Last December, salmonella infections were reported in over 30 infants in France that were linked to the giant manufacturer’s products forcing it to recall more than 12 million baby food items from 83 countries in what is turning to be a global scandal.

The banned products in Rwanda include formula milks, cereals, and juices under the Celia, Cereline and Picot brands.

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