Baby milk recalled by Lactalis, a multinational manufacturer of dairy products, was still sold to French consumers as retailers failed to pull the infected items off shelves. 

The French finance minister on Thursday warned of punishable actions to be placed against retailers that continued to stock Lactalis, which was contaminated with salmonella, according to Reuters. Officials have placed blame on Lactalis and retailers — Auchan, Carrefour, Leclerc  and Systeme U — that have admitted to continuing sales of the products. 

"This is a serious matter," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a news conference. "There has been unacceptable behavior, which should be punished."

Lactalis issued a global recall December after 26 children suffered sickness due to consumption of the company's products. The dairy producer said that there was suspicion of salmonella in some batches of its baby food items.  

"It's recommended not to consume these batches or, in case of absence of [an] alternative, to boil the recombined milk during 2 minutes and bring back it at the consumption temperature," Lactalis Group said in a press release. "Exceptional cleaning and disinfection measures are being taken to restart the production. Lactalis is truly sorry for the anxiety generated by [the] announcement."

The salmonella contamination reportedly occurred at Lactalis' northwestern France factory,  according to CNN. While the contaminated batches met the necessary local rules for exportation, the dairy giant decided to err on the side of caution by removing such bundles.

All children that fell ill from the infected dairy products have fully recuperated, according to reports.

Salmonella, also known as salmonellosis, is a rare foodborne illness. The infection, which stems from food or water products that have been contaminated, can prove to be life-threatening if it moves beyond the intestinal tract. 

Common signs of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, nausea and abdominal cramps, among others. Most affected individuals manage, however, to recuperate from the bacterial infection without needing treating. 

Lactalis French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire (R) speaks in a press conference flanked by Virginie Beaumeunier, head of the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) on January 11, 2018 in Paris, about the Lactalis' salmonella contamination. Photo: Getty Images