Health inspectors have discovered, for example, that several retailers, including supermarkets and pharmacies, had continued to keep the affected products on their shelves despite the recall order.
"There has been unacceptable behaviour, which should be punished", he told a news conference.
The market chains that sold Lactalis products despite general recall included Intermarche, Auchan, Cora, Carrefour, Super U, Hyper U and E. Leclerc.
Lactalis Nutrition Santé recalled over 600 batches (more than 7,000 tonnes) of products manufactured at a factory in Craon from 15 February previous year. The health scare in China caused distrust in locally produced infant formula and benefited foreign suppliers such as Nestle, Danone and Lactalis.
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Privately-held Lactalis, which has annual sales of around 17 billion euros ($20 billion), addressed the salmonella contamination by halting operations at the factory where it started, and on Thursday announced the temporary layoff of 250 workers.
Le Maire did not say what volume of baby milk could be involved beyond the more than 12 million items already recalled last month.
The products from the French dairy company Lactalis are feared to have been contaminated with salmonella.
Lactalis spokesperson Michel Nalet, during a Thursday press conference, offered no clear explanation for what went wrong, but said that the scale of the recall was unprecedented in the dairy industry and that the group was investigating.
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"We made mistakes, as did all the big distribution companies", Systeme U spokesman Thierry Desouches told BFM TV, adding the recall had been complex.
Meanwhile, Leclerc is known to have sold nearly 1,000 of the affected products.
A judicial investigation is taking place in France over the contamination and a group of French parents of affected infants said on Friday that they were considering a joint lawsuit.
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