An "isolated" lapse in the manufacture of intravenous nutrient bags likely caused the deaths of up to five babies at a French hospital, the health minister said Friday.
"The most probable hypothesis is an isolated accident in the production stage on November 28 at the laboratoire Marette," Marisol Touraine told reporters.
Touraine said there was a fifth suspect baby death at the hospital in the town of Chambery in southeast France.
France's Institut Pasteur had said a new type of bacteria had been found in nutrient bags used by the hospital, after it carried out tests on 10 pouches.
The tests came after the parents of three newborns, who died on separate days in early December, filed criminal complaints for manslaughter against the hospital.
Touraine on Friday added: "There is no link between the medical practices at the hospital and the contamination" of the baby feeding bags.
A total of 137 nutrient pouches produced by French firm laboratoire Marette on November 28 and distributed to seven hospitals have been recalled following the deaths.