Logo of the dairy group Lactalis are seen at the food exhibition Sial in Villepinte, near Paris, France. Reuters

French baby-milk maker Lactalis and health authorities have ordered a major international product recall after the discovery of salmonella bacteria.

The recall includes products for export, including to China, Taiwan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Sudan, Romania, Serbia, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Colombia and Peru.

Lactalis, the world's largest dairy company, had not managed contamination risk and has been ordered to conduct a product recall and halt the sale and export of several baby food products made at its Craon plant in western France since Feb. 15, consumer protection agency DGCCRF said in a statement.

A statement from the economy ministry said the measures put in place by Lactalis since Dec 2 were "not sufficient to manage the risk of contamination" and a broader recall was necessary.

Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. The illness - caused by intestinal bacteria from farm animals - is dangerous for the very young and elderly because of the risk of dehydration.

In 2013, Danone suffered what turned out to be a false alarm about botulism in its baby milk which did huge damage to its reputation and undermined group profits.

(With inputs from agencies)