The president of Nestlé said he wanted to go “To the bottom» of the question concerning the Buitoni Fraich’Up pizzas to understand what happened at the Caudry factory (North), during an interview on Tuesday with the Swiss television channel RTS. “The quality and safety of our products” are there “first priorityof Nestlé, said Paul Bulcke, the former chief executive, and chairman of the group since 2017.What happened […] invites us to go to the bottom and have the answers“, added the president of the Swiss group, affirming that there is”no compromisepossible on security issues.
The Caudry plant is at the heart of one of the worst health scandals in recent years in France. On March 18, Nestlé had closed two production lines and the prefecture had banned all activity there, the health authorities having established a link between the consumption of Fraich’Up pizzas and several serious cases of contamination by the bacterium Escherichia coli. These pizzas are suspected of having caused the death of two children and the poisoning of dozens of others. “It upset us as much as everyone else“, explained the president of Nestlé during this interview.
In July, the boss of Nestlé France, Christophe Cornu, presented his “excusesto the families of affected children and announced the creation of avictim support fundin an interview published in Le Figaro. A judicial investigation was opened in mid-May, in particular for manslaughter against one person and involuntary injuries concerning 14 others.
Nestlé France had said that it had taken more than 2,000 samples and had not detected any bacteria on the production lines and their environment (walls, grids, etc.), but had indeed detected the bacteria on frozen pizzas produced between October 2021 and the February 16, 2022. According to internal analyzes conducted by the company, “the most probable hypothesis” is that “flour contamination by E.coli STEC bacteria“, of the same type as that found in the pizzas at the origin of the contaminations.
Other possible causes have also been put forward, such as cleaning and hygiene conditions, after several warnings in the past and accusatory testimonies from employees. Health authority inspections for several years had reported “the presence of rodents” and the “lack of maintenance and cleaning of manufacturing, storage and passage areas” in the factory.