A French food factory owned by McCain Foods has halted production after bacteria linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease was found in its cooling system.

It is the third factory to be shut in the area as authorities attempt to stop the spread of the disease, which has so far killed ten people in the current outbreak, reported Reuters.

Cyril Schott, prefect of the affected area, Pas-de-Calais, said he had taken the decision on Sunday to halt production at the plant, which makes French fries, following the discovery of Legionnaires' bacteria. The plant employs around 700 people.

"The strain is the same as that which has already been identified and that led me to pronounce this closure for cleaning," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Company officials said there was no danger to consumers' health.