The Ministry Health has banned importation and sale of several products made by French Firm Lactalis Group – citing health hazards.
The banned products are all infant formula, cereals, and specialized products for children manufactured by the firm.
The banned products include; Celia AR 400g, Céréales Cereline Multicéréales 200g and Picot, Celia Expert 1, 400g; Celia Expert 2, 400g; Celia Expert 3, 400g; Celia Digest 400g; Celia Mama 400g; Celia PRE 400g; Céréales Cereline Fruit 200g.
Through collaboration with the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN), Health Ministry says the products have been recalled with immediate effect.
“The Ministry in collaboration with International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) discovered hazardous bacteria in these products,” Alphonsine Mukamunana, Environmental Health Scientist at Rwanda Biomedical Centre told KT Press.
Salmonella Agona bacteria – which causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps is suspected to have contaminated the products.
Mukamunana told KT Press that companies importing these products have been warned to stop distribution.
“We have two companies supplying these products. They have been collaborative with the Ministry until this alert was issued,” she told KT Press declining to name the companies, “to protect their businesses.”
The Ministry has called upon all parents owning the products in question to return them to retailers.
“Anyone who fed their children with this milk or any of the mentioned products and they show signs of diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps should immediately see the nearest doctor,” Health Ministry said on its Twitter handle.
In a statement signed by Health Minister Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Ministry requested collaboration of Rwanda Police, Rwanda Standards Board and other concerned authorities to help enforce the decision.
Malick Kayumba, head of communications division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre told KT Press that the ban has no timeline.
“The ban will be removed only after the manufacturer issues a new statement proving the new products are safe.”
Lactalis is a multinational dairy products corporation, owned by the Besnier family and based in Laval, Mayenne, France.
In December last year, Lactalis recalled millions of more products globally because of fears of salmonella contamination. Lactalis had already recalled several million baby milk products earlier before. The global recall has affected over 80 countries.