Supermarkets sold Lactalis infant formula despite recall due to Salmonella

Baby food scandal hits France

French supermarkets kept milk at risk of salmonella on shelves

But even after that, the products were still available at supermarkets and other retailers in the country.

The tough measure reflects high-level frustration at the botched handling of the crisis after France's biggest supermarkets - including Carrefour, Auchan and Leclerc - this week said that some Lactalis products subject to recalls in December still found their way onto their shelves.

On Thursday, Le Maire announced that 2,500 additional checks would be launched across France next week to make sure that all products concerned were removed from shelves. Three dozen children are thought to have fallen ill.

Speaking at a news conference in Rome, Macron also said that "yes, the French state is able to ensure food security", adding that he had himself asked his finance minister to summon industry representatives.

Officials from the food safety department carried out a routine inspection of the site in September and gave it a clean bill of health, the Canard Enchaine investigative weekly reported.

In December 2017, at least 35 infants in France fell ill after being fed tainted products. Means must be found not to repeat situations of this kind, "he underlined".

"This is a major malfunction in the process of recall by the managers, to whom responsibility lies", the minister said in the margins of a press conference that he presented for the presentation of the global exhibition of agricultural products expected to be held by the end of February, every year, in Paris.

Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

A judicial investigation is taking place in France over the contamination and a group of French parents of affected infants said on Friday that they were considering a joint lawsuit.

The company took internal recall procedures which led to the removal and destruction of more than 36,000 products but said the 52 products had "escaped the vigilance" of its teams.

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