Contaminated pizzas: Buitoni factory allowed to partially reopen

The line at the Caudry factory (northern France) that produces Buitoni raw dough pizzas from the Fraîch’Up range, suspected of causing the death of two children and the poisoning of dozens of others with the bacterium Escherichia coli, will remain silent. On the other hand, the French authorities announced on Friday that they had approved the reopening of “the range of pizzas made exclusively with cooked dough”, given that in this part of the factory there was “control over the production conditions of pizzas” been achieved.

“This restart follows a process of several months, in consultation with the authorities, to meet detailed specifications on the safety of our supplies, our products and on a plan to modernize the factory”, Nestlé responded to AFP. “We are approaching this reopening by continuing to be part of a process of evidence and transparency to all”, the group added, specifying that the “terms of recovery” would be “communicated in the coming days”. “This is what we’ve been waiting for for months, so we’re happy. It’s going in the right direction,” said Stéphane Derammelaere, Force Ouvrière delegate at the factory. “It’s a step. Consumers still have to come back to buy our products”.

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A health scandal that rocked the Nestlé group

Public Health France (SPF) and the Fraud Prevention Department (DGCCRF) were warned in February 2021 of an increase in cases of kidney failure in children linked to contamination with Escherichia coli. On March 18, Nestlé had recalled its pizzas and closed the two production lines, and on April 1, the prefecture had banned all activity there, as health authorities had established a link between the consumption of Fraîch’Up pizzas and several serious cases of E. .coli contamination .

Following searches in Caudry and in Nestlé’s headquarters in Hauts-de-Seine, a judicial investigation was opened in mid-May, in particular for involuntary manslaughter of one person and involuntary injuries concerning 14 others. In July, the head of Nestlé France, Christophe Cornu, presented his “apologies” to the families of the affected children and announced the creation of a “victim support fund”.

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