Case of contaminated Buitoni pizzas: back on the scandal

BUITONI PIZZAS. In March 2022, all of Buitoni's Fraich'Up pizzas were recalled due to E.coli contamination. 55 children fell ill. Two died. Back to this scandal.

  Case of contaminated Buitoni pizzas: back on the scandal

[Updated October 24, 2022 at 6:12 p.m.] In March 2022, Buitoni (Nestlé group) recalled all its Arm'Up pizzas After the occurrence of food poisoning in children and an adult. In question, the presence of the bacterium Escherichia Coli or E. coli. In the most severe forms, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) has manifested. 55 children fell ill, two died . L Buitoni factory in Caudry ( North ) where the pizzas were produced is closed since April 1. Yasmine Motarjemi, international food safety manager at Nestlé from 2000 to 2010 denounced for years of the ' unethical practices ' at BFM TV June 6. She reports that the workers came in their work clothes in the toilets, which is prohibited. The frame was dismissed in 2010 for 'difference of opinion'. On April 23, about fifty parents had decided to file a complaint against Buitoni. What is the listing give pizza concerned? What is the E.coli bacteria? How can it cause death?

C'est quoi le scandale des pizzas Buitoni?

  map of France Caudry in the North
City of Caudry in the North where the Buitoni factory is located, which produces pizzas withdrawn from the market.

In January 2022, several cases of pediatric haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and serious Escherichia coli infection have been reported in France to the French health authorities. End february, the Ministry of Health reports 13 cases of HUS in children , related to Escherichia coli bacteria with similar characteristics. The first death is announced. The m arque Buitoni is not yet cited. Several sources of contamination are investigated, including the ingestion of contaminated food eaten raw or undercooked. the 11 mars, the ministry confirm 26 cases of SHU and one second child death . No source of contamination has yet been incriminated. the 18 mars, Buitoni recalls all its Fraîch'Up frozen pizzas 'after being informed of the presence of E-coli bacteria in the dough of a frozen pizza' of this range. The March 22 and 29, two hygiene inspections take place in the Caudry plant where the contaminated pizzas are produced by the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations (DDPP) of the North and the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF). the 30 mars, Public Health France ' confirm a link between several cases and the consumption of frozen pizzas from the Fraîch'Up range of the Buitoni brand contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli bacteria'. 41 cases of HUS are identified . The day after, RMC unveils shocking images of the Buitoni factory of Caudry. It was a former factory employee who sent in these images showing appalling hygienic conditions: 'When you see fungus on the wall, you know it's wrong. The paint on the metal bars was peeling off. There were bits of food left in some places for several days, Several weeks. In sauce recovery bins, you could find cigarette butts. Where the flour is sent to the mats, so that the dough does not stick, there were mealworms.' he told our colleagues. Buitoni (Nestlé group) acknowledged that these photos were indeed taken in the factory but that it is not 'never so dirty' usually. Nestlé has confirmed that the tests it carries out itself in its Caudry factory are negative .

On April 6, the Nord prefecture publishes a decree prohibiting the production of pizzas in the Caudry factory . Public Health France confirms 50 cases of HUS. On April 8, opening of an investigation for 'involuntary homicides', 'deception' and 'endangering others' against Buitoni. April 13: search of the Buitoni factory in Caudry and at Nestlé headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux , in the Hauts-de-Seine. the 5th of May : BFM-TV reports the case of a woman hospitalized after eating a Bella Napoli pizza produced by Buitoni. She was the victim of a food poisoning linked to the presence of E.coli bacteria like the previous victims.

What were the contaminated Buitoni pizzas?

  pizza buitoni ecol
Example of a recalled Buitoni Fraîch'Up pizza.

The company Buitoni recalled on March 18, 2022 all pizzas in the Fraîch'Up range, for example:

  • Fraîch'Up 4 cheeses
  • Fraîch'Up Royale
  • Fresh'Up Chicken
  • Fresh'Up Bolognese
  • Fraîch'Up White Queen
  • Fraîch'Up 3 meats

What bacterium was involved in the Buitoni scandal?

The bacterium Escherichia Coli. 'E.coli' is a bacteria found in the gut of humans and some animals especially ruminants. When they are in the intestine, the majority of its strains are harmless and cause no symptoms. Some are however pathogens . They tolerate the cold well (survival of several days in a refrigerator) but normally not the strong cooking. The bacteria can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (SHU), a infectious complication most often of food origin rare in France but grave.

How many people have been contaminated by Buitoni pizzas?

In his last update of May 2022 , Public Health France confirms 56 cases of SHU. These 56 cases occurred in 55 children and 1 adult, who showed symptoms between January 18 and April 5. the epidemic peak is in week 7 (14/02 to 20/02) a one week 9 (28/02 to 06/03) , with 10 cases each of those weeks. These 56 cases occurred in 12 regions of France Metropolitan: Hauts-de-France (12 cases), Ile-de-France (9 cases), New Aquitaine (8 cases), Pays de la Loire (7 cases), Brittany (6 cases), Grand Est (3 cases) , Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (3 cases), Occitanie (2 cases), Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (2 cases), Center Val-de-Loire (2 cases), Bourgogne Franche-Comté (1 case) and Normandy (1 case). The 55 sick children are between the ages of 1 and 17 with a median age of 6 years . Two children died. The adult did not present with HUS.

How many deaths in the Buitoni pizza affair?

According to Public Health France, two children died haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after consuming the affected pizzas. It's about a infectious complication most often of food origin rare in France but grave . On the part of syndrome ' Hemolytic ' because it means that there is 'a destruction of red blood cells' (responsible for anemia and a drop in platelets) and ' uremic 'because there is urea in the blood . Urea is a waste product from the body eliminated by the kidneys in the urine. Increased blood urea and other waste products like creatinine indicate kidney failure.

Sources : 

Investigation of grouped cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections linked to the consumption of Buitoni® brand Fraîch'Up pizzas - Santé Publique France - April 25, 2022 .

Severe cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in children: new cases reported, health authorities remind you of what to do. March 30, 2022. Public Health France.

Ministry of Health press releases.