FRANCE – French retailers have blamed human errors to be involved in managing the contaminated Lactalis baby milk, a position they have defended concerning the Lactalis baby milk scandal.

The retailers, who included representatives from Carrefour, Casino, Leclerc, Intermarché, Auchan, Système U and Cora said that despite Lactalis’ move to recall its baby milk, they had been supplied with the product sparking a wave of confusion between them and the dairy producer.

However, the retailers admitted that there were isolated mishandling cases in managing some of the products on their store shelves.

Lactalis withdrew 12 million boxes of powdered baby milk from supermarket shelves in 83 countries following a public fuss on salmonella contamination in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Britain and Sudan.

Customers had filed complaints against the dairy producer claiming that Lactalis had delivered the recalled products after the date when they were required to be removed from the market.

Franck Geretzhuber, Auchan’s secretary-general commenting on the matter said that Auchan had received a delivery of the Lactilis products on December 29 despite the December 21 recall.

It was also claimed that Lactalis had delivered the products to Carrefour on December 14 although they had been recalled on December 10.

While other retailers blamed the scandal to miscommunication from Lactalis, Carrefour, Leclerc and Auchan assigned the fault to human errors after some of the products returned by clients found themselves on the store shelves again.

“Our processes were robust but destabilised by the erratic communication of our supplier, who multiplied unclear messages,” said Claude Risac, Casino’s head of external communications.

For some retailers like Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour and Systeme U, some of the Lactilis baby milk products remained on the store shelves ahead of the recall dates.

“At Carrefour, the fault comes from poor management of the products returned to the stores by clients,” said Stéphane Dufort, Carrefour’s head of quality.

Consumers already affected by the salmonella scare have resolved for lawsuits and two complaints by families are already targeting Auchan and Leclerc, according to Reuters.