A food poisoning scandal linked to coliform bacteria has made waves in France. 75 children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is manifested by acute renal failure and severe blood problems. Two children died.
A link has now been established between intoxication and Buitoni brand frozen pizza. French health authorities confirmed, on Wednesday, that some cases of infection with the bacteria Escherichia coli are linked to the consumption of Fresh Up pizza.
The Nestle group, to which Boitoni belongs, recalled pizza purchased before March 18 and advised against eating it.
Production closed, sale stopped
Two production facilities in Coudry, northern France, where 200 employees were making Betony pizza, are currently closed and sales are halted. Pizza was sold mainly in France.
“The quality and food safety of our products are our top priority and we are working with the authorities to determine what may have happened,” the company said in a statement.
So far, E. coli bacteria have not been detected on pizza, but production will start again only “when the causes of this contamination have been identified so that appropriate remedial measures can be taken”.
“The largest known E. coli epidemic”
So far, the authorities have recorded a total of 75 cases of food poisoning among children. An employee of the French public health organization, Santi Publique, told France Info radio that it was the largest known epidemic of E. coli bacteria in France to date.
On average, 160 cases of HUS are reported to the public in Santee each year, and after only three months, half of those cases are reported, according to Gabriel Jones.
Most families we interviewed said they ate a frozen Petuni pizza. “We are investigating various hypotheses about how contamination occurred despite the baked pizza. It could be the way the unbaked pizza was handled.”
Most critically ill patients have kidney problems, Jones said, but E. coli poisoning can have other complications that can affect the brain and heart, including death.
Mold on the walls, cigarette butts in between the groceries.
Employees in the media are talking about the catastrophic health conditions at the company’s production facility in northern France.
opposite the sender RMC According to an employee who worked for 18 months at a production facility in Corduroy, mold grew on the walls of the production hall “when worms were infesting the conveyor belts carrying pizza and the paint on the metal frame caused chipping and leftovers eaten away lying for days or weeks, with cigarette butts in Make the sauce (…) and then you know something is wrong.”
Most employees never wash their hands, “I was surprised that nothing like this had happened before.”
The informant, who alerted the factory management at the time of his appointment, shared many shocking photos with the media.
Nestlé answers: “All samples are negative.”
Some of the now circulating pictures were posted on a website in May of last year. Nestle CEO Tioli admitted to AFP that the footage was actually taken from a factory. But “what they show does not represent the normal, customary, or acceptable condition of the plant,” says Tioli.
“If it corresponds to reality,” he said, it could just be a matter of one-time situations, “after the collapse” or “during the cleanup,” stressing that unannounced checks in September 2020 and March 2021 did not reveal anything. They were deviations from the regulations.
Pierre Alexandre Tioli, general manager of communications at Nestlé France, told AFP that Nestlé had taken 75 samples from the damaged production line and throughout the plant, all of which were “negative”.
For its part, the union CGT de l’agroalimentaire complained about the reorganization of the factory in 2015, which it said breached cleanliness.
“Since then, less time has been spent on cleaning, which is done by people with less training. We’ve decried this for years, at Nestlé and elsewhere,” stressed Maris Triton of CGT (Fédération agroalimentaire).
Belgium and Luxembourg take back pizza
In Belgium, where the affected pizza chain Leader Price recalled, “no case of human contamination has been detected,” a spokesperson for the Federal Food Chain Safety Agency (FASFC) told AFP on Thursday.
The Luxembourg Food Authority also reported the recall.