France probes dairy giant Lactalis over recall failure, negligence

PARIS (Reuters) – Dairy giant Lactalis is under criminal investigation in France on charges of failure to carry out product withdrawals and recalls, fraud and negligent bodily harm, the company said on Thursday.

“This step marks the beginning of the judicial investigation in which Lactalis will be fully involved and in full France probes dairy giant Lactalis over recall failure, negligencetransparency”, the company said.

The investigation, which will also look into the smaller company Celia Laiterie de Craon, is linked to a major scandal in 2017 involving salmonella contamination of infant formula, according to French media reports.

“In the coming weeks, we will have access to all the elements in the case and we will be able to respond specifically to the totality of the points raised in this investigation,” Lactalis said.

Lactalis, which is a privately held firm, is the world’s largest producer of cheese and one of the world’s largest dairy groups.

Founded in 1933, the company has expanded steadily over generations. Its takeover of Italy’s Parmalat in 2011 turned it into a major global player.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Bernadette Baum)