Pizzas Buitoni: a third range of pizzas targeted in the contamination scandal

Buitoni has not finished with the scandal around its pizzas and possible contamination with E.Coli bacteria. This Thursday, May 5, a 34-year-old mother filed a complaint, questioning the brand’s “Bella Napoli” range. The mother from Perpignan fell ill after having “consumed a pizza” from this range according to her lawyer, and filed a complaint for “involuntary injuries” against the manufacturer belonging to the Nestlé group. Buitoni’s Fraîch’Up pizza was already under investigation after around fifty cases of contamination with Escherichia Coli bacteria, some of which could have been linked to the consumption of these pizzas. Among them, 48 children, two of whom died without a direct link having been established to date with the consumption of pizzas.

She ate this pizza on March 27 and “was hospitalized on the 29th for six days”, Pierre Debuisson told AFP, confirming information from BFM TV. “The analysis results revealed the presence of the E.Coli bacterium”, as for previous contaminations linked to the Fraîch’Up range, and of another bacterium, Shigella, he added. “She is still very tired a month later,” says Me Debuisson. simply said to have transmitted the information to the ARS (regional health agency, editor’s note)”, explains the lawyer.

Pizzas still on sale

“The pizzas are still on sale, there is a precautionary principle which is not respected at all by the ARS and by Buitoni”, estimates this council, already engaged in the defense of several families affected by E. Coli in the face of Buitoni including those of two deceased children. According to Richard Legrand, another lawyer for the families of victims, “there are indeed other ranges which are concerned”. Me Legrand targets a third variety of pizzas produced by Buitoni, the “Stone oven”, claiming that it could be the source of contamination. Contacted by AFP, the Buitoni company said it took this complaint “very seriously”, stressing that the Bella Napoli range “fully complies with quality and food safety criteria”.

“To our knowledge, the link established by the authorities with the epidemic of Hemolytic and Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and infections with E. Coli producing shigatoxin (STEC) only concerns pizzas from the Fraîch’Up range”, indicates to AFP a spokesperson for the Buitoni brand. The complaint filed in Perpignan comes a few weeks after the opening of an investigation on March 22 by the Paris prosecutor’s office for “deception on goods, exhibition or sale of corrupt or falsified and harmful food products for health, placing on the market of a product prejudicial to health, endangering others, involuntary injuries and involuntary homicides”. The investigations are conducted by the public health department of the Paris prosecutor’s office, but lack transparency and efficiency, according to Pierre Debuisson.

“Less opacity”

“We are waiting for there to be less opacity in the criminal investigation, to know when an investigating judge will finally be appointed and an open judicial investigation”, asserts the lawyer, who also demands “apologies of Nestle”. Health authorities had been alerted in February by the resurgence of cases of kidney failure in children, linked to contamination by Escherichia coli. On March 18, Nestlé announced the withdrawal of pizzas from the Fraîch’Up range marketed since June 2021, after being informed of the presence of the bacteria in the dough of a product.

On March 30, the health authorities announced that they had established a link between the consumption of these pizzas and several serious cases of contamination before the prefect of the Nord department banned, two days later, the production of pizzas at the Caudry site. (North). Inspections there had pointed to “the presence of rodents” and the “lack of maintenance and cleaning of the manufacturing, storage and passage areas”. Shortcomings which could be the cause of the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the products then marketed. Searches took place on April 13 in the Caudry factory, and at the headquarters of the Nestlé group, in Hauts-de-Seine.

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