Lactalis is seeking more than a billion euros from Eurofins in court, claiming that the laboratory did not carry out its analyzes correctly and is responsible for the salmonella contamination of infant milk, the investigative media said on Monday The Informed.
According to the specialized site, the global milk giant filed a summons at the end of March with the Paris commercial court targeting two subsidiaries of the Eurofins laboratory (Eurofins microbiology laboratory Ouest and Eurofins NDSC Food France) and their insurers, XL Insurance and HDI Global.
Lactalis considers in the summons that the two Eurofins subsidiaries are “responsible for the damage suffered (by Lactalis) resulting from the lack of detection by the latter of the contamination of the products with salmonella agona”, reports L’Informé. The dairy group estimates this damage at 1.07 billion euros.
Several dozen infants had been affected at the end of 2017 in France with salmonellosis, food poisoning which can be serious in the weakest. The link was made with their consumption of a children’s product, mainly Milumel or Picot brands, from the Craon factory (Mayenne).
When asked, Lactalis indicated that it would not make “any comments on the documents appearing in the legal file”. Also contacted, Eurofins did not react immediately.
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In an interview with Échos at the beginning of 2018, the boss of Lactalis, Emmanuel Besnier, attacked Eurofins, without directly naming him, by questioning the reliability of the analyzes that an “external reference laboratory” had carried out in Craon . “We find it very difficult to understand how 16,000 analyzes carried out in 2017 could reveal nothing. We have doubts about the reliability of these tests,” Emmanuel Besnier then declared.
In response, the CEO of Eurofins considered that Lactalis’ defense strategy consisting of “discarding” on Eurofins was “extremely unfortunate”. He then defended the “reliability” of his analyses.
In separate proceedings, Lactalis was indicted in February, notably for aggravated deception and unintentional injury.