A group of children were reportedly hospitalized in France after eating hamburger meat infected with a rare strain of E. coli bacteria.
Health officials said the infection was not thought to be linked to a recent E. coli outbreak in Germany, linked to bean sprouts, that killed 37 people and sickened thousands.
While only 7 children were reported taken ill, there were fears of a wider outbreak in France.
The German discount chain Lidl withdrew boxes of the frozen burgers — sold under the brand "Steaks Country" and with expiration dates of May 10, 11 and 12 — that were believed to be behind the French infections, Fox News reports.
The children, aged between 18 months and 8 years, are being treated in a hospital for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — a form of kidney failure related to a rare form of E. coli — CNN reports, quoting the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional health agency.
They were taken to a hospital in the city of Lille after suffering bouts of bloody diarrhea.
One was reportedly released, but others were in a "serious condition" and still being treated with hemodialysis, a method of removing waste products from the blood in the case of kidney failure.
Health Minister Xavier Bertrand reportedly said on RTL radio: "I hope we can launch a search program very quickly, we are working on that already with French researchers in order to identify (the origin) and deal with health problems soon."
He said stricter controls on such food products would have to be enforced.