New scare fuels baby milk fears

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The Independent Online
A second brand of baby milk has been withdrawn following cases of salmonella poisoning among French babies. Two batches of the product Lemiel 2, made by Milupa, on sale in France only, have been taken off the market after two cases of salmonella anatum were confirmed.

The milk is made in the same factory as Milumil, the formula brand withdrawn from sale in the United Kingdom and Ireland after 10 babies in Britain suffered the same infection.

A spokeswoman for Milupa, now owned by the Dutch company Nutricia, said yesterday that no link had been confirmed between the Milumel case and Lemiel 2 but the batches were being withdrawn as a precautionary measure. "It was thought the wisest thing to do while the Milumel investigation was going on."

An inspection of the Colmar factory in France where both brands are made had been undertaken by the French authorities, UK experts from the Department of Health, and Milupa's technical-quality team, which had yet to find traces of salmonella. Some results of laboratory tests were still awaited. "No other product is suspected or linked. We do not know of any other cases," added the spokeswoman.

Patti Rundall, international co-ordinator for Baby Milk Action, called for the Government and the European Commission to instigate tests at the Colmar and all other baby-food factories and for all breastmilk substitutes to carry warnings. "Nutricia and Milupa have spent millions of pounds on promotion which has minimised the risks of artificial feeding ..." she said.

"Since all dairy herds have salmonella and other contaminations intermittently and it takes only a very few organisms to infect a formula-fed infant, parents should be aware of the risks when they buy these products."