He was a little blond child of two and a half, with laughing eyes. Kelig died last March after eating a piece of Buitoni frozen pizza (Nestlé group) from the Fraîch’Up range. The report broadcast this Thursday, October 27 as part of “Special Envoy”, at 9:10 p.m. on France 2, opens with the moving testimony of his parents, who agreed for the first time to speak in front of a camera. A father and a mother who are still trying to understand how the unimaginable could have happened.
The same need guided the journalists of the magazine de la Deux, faced with this health scandal suspected of having led to around fifty cases of infection (mainly in children, two of whom died) with the bacterium E. coli, detected in frozen pizzas.
“It was a complicated and long investigation: we started last July. It was necessary to convince, to gain the trust of people to collect their testimonies”, says Stéphanie Ponsart, editor-in-chief at STP productions, at the origin of the subject.
A confidential internal document revealed
Because, in addition to the parents of victims, former employees of the Caudry factory (Hauts-de-France) and others still in office, have agreed to speak … anonymously. One had already published photos showing a repulsive state of dirt on certain production lines, from 2021. Two others are speaking today, accompanied by a union representative, to denounce a reorganization which has considerably reduced cleaning hours in the factory since 2015, to increase production…
“We are also showing for the first time a confidential internal document which proves that in August 2021, traces of the E. coli STEC bacterium would have been detected in flour, while Nestlé has always claimed the opposite. The law does not require reporting to the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention) but, given the dangerousness of this bacterium, they should have taken precautions, ”says the editor-in-chief.
Another highlight of the report: a hidden camera in another factory, jointly owned by Lactalis and Nestlé, in Vallet, near Nantes. Hired as a temporary worker in the dairy dessert production line, the journalist discovers that some employees rarely wash their hands, work with very dirty overalls and that “the cold chain” is not always respected.
PODCAST. Pizzas Buitoni: the story of a major health scandal
Questioned, the Nestlé group did not wish to grant an interview to the journalists of “Special Envoy” but answered, by email, some of the questions raised. Justice was seized and an investigation is in progress to try to determine the responsibilities in this scandal. While the victims’ lawyer denounces the slowness of justice in this case, Kelig’s father is certain: “We will go to the end. We have nothing more to lose since we have already lost everything.
” Correspondent. Buitoni pizzas: chain negligence? », report by Eugénie Yvrande (2022), presented by Elise Lucet (35 min)