Six years after the scandal of infant milk contaminated with salmonella in the Craon de Lactalis factory, the debate on the responsibility of each person in the health safety chain is far from over. As it had suggested in 2018, Lactalis, the owner of the site affected by bacterial contamination which led to the infection of several dozen infants, is turning against Eurofins, the external laboratory responsible for carrying out the bacteriological analyzes Mayenne site.
According to l'Informed, the world leader in cheese and dairy products took the Nantes laboratory to the Paris commercial court last March for failures in the tests carried out at the time. Information that the group does not comment on, but which is confirmed by a judgment dated October 24 from the Paris Commercial Court, which Le Figaro obtained.
Read the file Contaminated milk: everything you need to know about the Lactalis affair
The document in which the Paris TC judge agrees not to judge this case on the merits until the result of a judicial expertise is given, recalls the grievances of the milk giant. He estimates in particular that in the 16,000 tests carried out by his service provider at the time failed to reveal the presence of the bacteria in the environment of drying tower number 1 of the site between August and November 2017 ( false negatives). But also to correctly manage this health subject, while after the start of the crisis in December 2017, “false positives” contributed to amplifying the scale of the scandal and product recalls, at a time when the bacteria was not a priori more present in the factory, according to the group.
As a result, Lactalis is demanding more than a billion euros from the Nantes laboratory, again according to this judgment. In detail, this sum covers the amount of the thousands of batches recalled and destroyed, sometimes unnecessarily according to the dairy group, as well as compensation for the loss of earnings of the group's customer distributors. But also and above all the impact of the scandal on the turnover of its infant activity. Ultimately, the judgment on the merits of the case is not expected before 2025.