Embattled French dairy group Lactalis is to extend the recall of products from its Craon factory in north-west France that is implicated in a salmonella outbreak that has engulfed the world’s number three dairy group and a number of the country’s retailers.

Following a meeting with Lactalis on Friday (12 January), French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told a news conference: “Lactalis will take back all baby milk products manufactured at Craon, regardless of their production date.”

Previously, the dairy company had recalled all infant formula and nutritional products manufactured and conditioned in the Craon plant since 15 February last year.

But, speaking about the total recall of Craon-made products, Le Maire said: “The aim of this radical step is simple: to avoid delays, problems in sorting batches and the risk of human error.”

Lactalis is said to have already recalled more than 12m tins of baby milk and food but has fallen foul of the French government after major supermarket chains said this week baby food products covered by the previous recall measures had still been sold to consumers.

The French government will also be concerned about reputational damage to the country’s food industry, especially as Lactalis’ baby milk products are exported widely.

News of the problem first came to light on 11 December when France’s consumer protection agency DGCCRF revealed a new recall of certain products following 20 cases of salmonella infection of infants in France during early December, which had already prompted a limited recall of 12 Lactalis products.