Buitoni Pizzas Contaminated by E. Coli, Nestlé on Trial After Two Children Die

Nestlé France was charged in the investigation into the scandal Buitoni pizzas contaminated by the bacteria E. coli, suspected of causing the death of two children. The company announced this, having closed its plant in Caudry, in northern France, following the opening of the investigation. Nestlé’s press release did not specify the charges it will face. The charges were not disclosed, but the allegations include manslaughter, involuntary injury, placing a product dangerous to health on the market and endangering others.

The alarm from French health authorities

The case dates back to early 2022, when French health authorities were alerted to a series of cases of kidney failure among dozens of children across the country: two of them died and 56 others suffered kidney damage. Subsequent investigations revealed that all the children involved had consumed, a few hours before the onset of symptoms, pizzas from the range “Fraîch’Up” Buitoni, all produced in the same factory in Caudry, in northern France. These pizzas were found to be contaminated by the Escherichia coli bacteria.

In March of the same year, health authorities established a direct link between the consumption of those pizzas and the various cases of contamination involving dozens of children. Pizza production at the Caudry factory was stopped, and Nestlé subsequently sold the plant to the Italian company Italpizza.

What Nestlé is risking

Nestlé’s press release does not specify the charges it faces, but the judicial investigation alleges very serious crimes such as manslaughter, involuntary injury, placing a product on the market that is dangerous to health and endangering others. This scandal has had a devastating impact on Nestlé’s reputation and has raised serious concerns about food safety.

Contamination from E. coli is a serious problem that can cause serious illness and, in extreme cases, death, as unfortunately happened in this case. It is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains of E. coli is harmless, some can cause serious food poisoning. Symptoms of infection by E. coli include:

  • Diarrhea (which can be bloody);
  • Abdominal pain and cramps;
  • Nausea And vomit;
  • Fever.

In the most severe cases, infection by E. coli can lead to kidney failure, known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be fatal, especially in children and the elderly.

The consequences in Italy

Since Buitoni is an Italian brand, many fear that the incriminated pizzas have also arrived in Italy. But from 2022 to today, no case of patients with E. coli; furthermore, the scandal has involved Fraich’Up pizzas, produced only in France and not in Italy. The same Nestlé Italy in 2022 it issued a statement stating that the recall of frozen pizzas did not concern Buitoni-branded products sold in Italy.

“We therefore confirm that all our products sold in Italy – the group explains – are safe and suitable for consumption. We would like to point out that the ongoing recall of frozen Fraîch’Up pizzas concerns only the references of this range produced and marketed in France. The Buitoni brand pizzas produced in the Benevento plant sold in our country have no connection with this recall”.