June 1, 2018 / 7:41 PM / a year ago

France extends cheese recall after more E.coli cases, one suspected death

PARIS (Reuters) - More Reblochon cheese from a factory in the French Alps will be removed from the market after children were infected by E.coli bacteria linked to the raw milk-based product with one child possibly dying from it, health authorities said on Friday.

French food retailer Leclerc had already issued a recall of Reblochon products produced by cheesemaker Chabert and sold in its own shops under the “Nos regions ont du talent” (“Our regions have talent”) brand.

That was extended in mid-May to concern all distributors of the suspect cheese, including retailers Carrefour and Intermarché, which sold the cheese produced in Cruseilles in the Haute-Savoie region under their own brand.

The move came after health authorities linked seven cases of E.coli 026 bacteria among children between one-and-a-half and three years old to the cheese, which is a creamy specialty of the French Alps.

On Friday, the national public health center extended the recall after 14 suspected new cases of children between one and five were discovered.

Six of the 14 cases of infection involved hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) with E.coli 026 bacteria, a potentially serious condition that can cause kidney failure among young children.

“The traceability survey conducted by health authorities after a new infection case ... enabled the identification of new batches of Reblochon that were not targeted by the original recall,” the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

The health center said the other eight cases were still being investigated. One of those children had died and had been infected with HUS, but it was still unclear whether or not it was linked to the child eating Reblochon.

It reiterated official guidance that raw milk and cheese made with raw milk should not be given to young children.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Adrian Croft

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