French meat processor SEB-CERF, which this month supplied frozen steak burgers contaminated with a strain of E. coli to Lidl stores in northern France, will make a request to a court today (27 June) to be placed in administration.

Speaking on national TV, CEO Guy Lamorlette said the move was the sole solution available to the company, which ceased all of its production operations last Thursday, following a 70% slump in output since it was identified as the source of the outbreak. Its 140 staff have been laid off until further notice.

If the court accepts SEB-CERF's request, the company would be given six months to rescue the business.

Lidl is its major customer and Lamorlette warned that if the discount retailer withdrew its confidence it would spell the end of SEB-CERF.