The Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on the sale and consumption of several products by French dairy firm; Lactalis Group following an investigation into their implication on children's health.
In a statement, the ministry listed the different products by the French company, all of them for children, saying they could be contaminated.
The ministry bases its decision on information by the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), and a subsequent probe by the Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) together with the Rwanda National Police, which established the products, might have been contaminated by Salmonella Agona bacteria.
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps for 12 to 72 hours after infection.
The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most patients recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalised.
Concerned products by the French diary group as indicated by the statement from the ministry include Celia Expert 1, 400g; Celia Expert 2, 400g; Celia Expert 3, 400g; Celia AR 400g; Celia Digest 400g; Celia Mama 400g; Celia PRE 400g; Céréales Cereline Fruit 200g; Céréales Cereline Multicéréales 200g and Picot.
“The ministry requests all Rwandans that purchased this brand of ‘Picot’ and the cited products, to stop feeding them to their babies and return them to the market or to RSB’s headquarters,” the ministry tweeted.
Shops that sell these products were also asked to take them to the RSB headquarters, while importers are no longer allowed to purchase those products and sell them in the country.
“Anyone who fed their children with this milk or any of the mentioned products and they show signs of diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps should immediately see the nearest doctor,” the ministry cautioned parents.
Lactalis said it was recalling as a precaution all infant formula and other baby food products made at its factory in Craon, northwest France, since February 15 last year.
The latest recall affected products destined for both French and overseas markets carrying the Picot, Milumel and Taranis brands, Lactalis said in a statement.
In early December, Lactalis informed the French authorities of 20 cases of salmonella in infants aged less than six months after they had consumed the group’s products.