PARIS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire on Thursday pledged to carry out 2,500 additional checks next week, following the scandal that French retailers continued to sell baby food tainted with salmonella in spite of a nationwide recall.
Speaking at a press conference, Le Maire said that 2,500 checks had already been carried out this week in stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and nurseries.
"The urgency is the effective withdrawal of distribution channels of all the suspected products," said the minister.
The problematic products were produced by France-based Lactalis, one of the world's largest producers of dairy products.
The company issued a recall in December of all products made in one of its factories in northwestern France, after discovering salmonella bacteria at the site.
However, since Tuesday, several major French retailers, including Carrefour, E. Leclerc, Auchan, Casino, Intermarche and Systeme U, have admitted having sold Lactalis products that were supposed to be removed from shelves.
"This case is serious. It has led to unacceptable behaviour that needs to be punished," said La Maire.
He added that there had been no indication so far that tainted products were exported to other countries.
French Minister of Agriculture Stephane Travert said the retailers were responsible for a "major malfunction in the recalling procedure."
At a press conference in Rome, French president Emmanuel Macron called the scandal "unacceptable," stressing that France is capable of ensuring food safety.
In December, at least 35 infants in France fell ill after being fed Lactailis products.
French officials searched the factory on Dec. 2 and found that one of the assembly lines was contaminated with salmonella.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain, and are extremely dangerous for infants.