The judicial record of Lactalis is thickening. After infant milk, justice is interested in activities related to the feeding of young animals of the French giant of the agribusiness. According to our information, in early 2019 the Rennes public prosecutor's office opened a judicial inquiry following the complaint of a Lactalis client company for “fraud, falsification of foodstuffs and deception as to the nature of the goods”. Agri-food group officials were recently heard by the investigating officers.
It is the company Serval that is at the origin of the complaint, filed in May 2018. This large SME, present in the United States and Canada, manufactures since 1959 breastfeeding products for calves, lambs and kids. To this end, she buys giant Lactalis, property of the Besnier family, For several years whey, essential ingredient to ensure its products the rate of protein necessary for the good growth of young animals. However, in 2016, Serval's breeders are experiencing problems with the growth of their animals. The company carries out tests and concludes that the whey it buys Lactalis is not 100% cow's milk but is a mixture that does not contain enough protein.
“Very important margin”
According to the complaint lodged by the company Serval, the merchandise sold by Lactalis did not meet the criteria required for breastfeeding products for young animals. It would be “composed of whey and permeate, a milk by-product of a zero protein content and containing a small proportion of non-protein nitrogenous material, the main one being urea” (sic). “This manipulation makes it possible to understand why the protein content of a mixing whey that should have been 13 to 14% was lowered to 11% by the effect of the introduction of permeate, details the complaint, and especially of a ridiculous cost price allowing Lactalis to ensure a very important margin. ” Contacted, Serval's lawyer, Alexandre Varaut, pushes the point: “This is a case that is reminiscent of the” wetting of milk “for which Lactalis had been sentenced a few years ago.”
For its part, the company Lactalis highlights that the company Serval had claimed in March 2017 the appointment of a legal expert to measure the quality of whey sold by Lactalis. At the time, “Serval did not respond to requests for disclosure of documents made by the forensic expert, says the multinational to Challenges, and made the choice to put an end to the judicial expertise she had herself initiated preferring to initiate criminal proceedings. “According to Lactalis, a first complaint of Serval had also been dismissed.” Opponent Serval Lactalis Ingredients is purely commercial, continues the spokesman, and Serval instrumentalizes the criminal justice to try to settle for his benefit. “A calibrated defense.