The Celia dairy, owned by the Lactalis group, in Craon, Mayenne, December 4, 2017
The bacterium present in a milk factory Lactalis and causing two outbreaks of salmonellosis in infants in 2005 and 2017 also contaminated another 25 between 2006 and 2016, said Thursday the Institut Pasteur at AFP.
Pasteur’s analyzes give credence to the idea that this bacterium has survived for all these years in this factory in Craon (Mayenne), bought by Lactalis from its competitor Celia in 2006.
„These are sporadic cases of salmonellosis in infants, 25 over ten years, for which we were able to confirm that it was the same strain“ of salmonella as in 2005 and 2017, explained the director of the National Center reference salmonella to Pasteur, François-Xavier Weill.
„It was first shown that the same salmonella agona bacterium was involved in the two salmonellosis outbreaks of 2005 and 2017. And we wondered where the strain might have been in the 12 years“, said the bacteriologist.
„The only possible scientific hypothesis is that she stayed in the factory in question,“ he added.
Lactalis CEO Emmanuel Besnier went a little further in an interview with Les Échos on Thursday.
Since Salmonella was found „in the environment“ of the plant between 2005 and 2017, „we can not exclude that babies have consumed contaminated milk over this period,“ he said.
The Institut Pasteur does not have the means to say if these 25 infants who were sick between 2006 and 2016 had consumed infant milk coming from this factory.
„It’s extremely difficult to find if that’s the case, but the DNA speaks very clearly, and it points to this plant,“ said Weill, who conducted the bacteriological investigation into the January-January contamination. May 2005.
This epidemic affected 141 infants, while that of 2017 affected 38 infants.