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Contaminated Buitoni pizzas: an investigating judge in charge of the investigations

The investigations into the Buitoni (Nestlé) pizza scandal, contaminated with the E.coli bacteria and suspected of having caused the death of two children in France, were entrusted Thursday, May 12 to an investigating judge, learned the AFP with the Paris prosecutor’s office. The judicial information was opened in particular for manslaughter against a person, involuntary injuries concerning 14 people, marketing of a product dangerous to health and endangering others, according to the same source. , confirming information from RMC. A total of 55 children and one adult have been infected, without a direct link having been established to date with the consumption of pizzas, according to health authorities.

A preliminary investigation had already been underway since March 22 at the public health center of 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 harmful to health, endangering others, involuntary injury and manslaughter”. In this context, searches took place on April 13 in the Caudry factory, in the north of France, where the pizzas of the incriminated Fraîch’Up range were manufactured, and at the headquarters of the Nestlé group, in the Paris region.

In February, the health authorities had been alerted 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. .

Inspections had pointed to “the presence of rodents” and the “lack of maintenance and cleaning of manufacturing, storage and passage areas”. Shortcomings which could be the cause of the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the products then marketed. “There are two children who died from having eaten a pizza (…) I assure you that it is poignant”, declared Thursday on RMC and BFMTV the French Minister of Health Olivier Véran, saying to himself “devastated “by this “absolutely terrible human drama” which “should never happen” but “could not be avoided”.

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