victims’ lawyer claims 250 million euros from Nestlé

In parallel with the legal action taken against Nestlé, Me Pierre Debuisson is claiming 250 million euros from the agri-food giant to repair the damage suffered by the families.

Kelig, 2.5 years old, and Nathan, 8 years old, died in the winter of 2022 after eating a slice of Buitoni pizza from the Fraîch’Up range. Seriously contaminated by the bacterium Escherichia coli, other children had to be hospitalized and to this day have lesions in the kidneys, heart, liver or brain. A real “horror film” for the parents of these little victims, like Yohan Aïech, Nathan’s father.

“Nestlé (owner of the Buitoni brand, editor’s note) has ruined our lives, they have to pay”, he declares to the Sunday newspaper.

His lawyer, who represents 55 victims and 48 families in this case, has just initiated a civil action for “gross negligence” and is claiming 250 million euros from the multinational. “We need a repair at the height of these human tragedies”, pleads Me Pierre Debuisson.

A fund deemed “opaque”

Questioned by our colleagues, he criticizes Nestlé for not having “taken the necessary measures” to guarantee “the quality of the product put on sale”. Me Debuisson also affirms that the group waited more than two months before recalling a million Fraîch’Up pizzas, despite suspicions of links between their consumption and the resurgence of hemolytic and uremic syndromes (HUS) causing kidney damage.

After the revelation of this health scandal, the boss of Nestlé France, Christophe Cornu, presented his “apologies” to the families of the children affected by contamination and opened, at the beginning of September, a “victim support fund”.

Financial aid to the operation nevertheless “opaque”, denounce the families exhausted by what their lawyer describes as “the biggest food scandal in Europe in the last thirty years”.

“Distressing”, “unacceptable”

The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation for manslaughter, involuntary injuries, marketing of a product dangerous to health and endangering others. But since the start of the investigations, Me Pierre Debuisson claims to have never been contacted by the investigating judge in charge of the case.

“At best the magistrates in charge of this case are not competent, and it is distressing. Or else there is collusion between the Parisian judicial institution and the Nestlé group, and it is unacceptable”, underlines the lawyer ” revolted by the indifference” with which families are treated.

The agri-food giant announced last week that it planned to restart in November – subject to the green light from the authorities – one of the two production lines of its Caudry factory, from which the pizzas contaminated by the bacteria came out. E.coli.

Amber Lepoivre BFMTV journalist

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