French officials said Tuesday they had issued a health warning after thousands of people were sold beef contaminated with the E.coli virus in supermarkets across much of the country.
Some 2.35 tonnes of unfit beef mince and burgers, from a slaughterhouse in northern France, were sold across the north and the Paris region, a veterinary services official said, confirming a report in Le Parisien newspaper.
Usually spread through contaminated food or drink, E.coli can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and fever, and can lead to potentially fatal kidney failure for the very young and the elderly.
Le Parisien suggested that "tens of thousands" of people were at risk of infection.
"Up until now, no one has fallen sick," said the official, Frederic Macqueron.
All the stores in question issued recall notices on Thursday and Friday for the meat, put on sale between March 10 and 18, he added.
Dozens of similar health alerts were issued each year, but that only two or three people fell seriously ill, he said.