Almost two years after the Buitoni pizza scandal, two new tragedies shed light on the dangers of the Escherichia coli bacteria, or E. Coli. Two children, aged 7 years and 18 months, unrelated, have been hospitalized since December. The little girls come from the Rhône and ate morbier a few days before Christmas. This raw milk cheese which was cited in a recall of several products manufactured, among others, by the company Route des Terroirs in mid-December. 20 minutes make the point.
Two girls in serious condition
She ate a piece of morbier on December 23 and Elise, 7 years old, will probably lose the use of his kidneys. The little girl from Saint-Étienne-des-Oullières is still hospitalized in Lyon, was close to death and may have to receive a transplant. “She still hasn’t recovered her kidney functions. The chances are more and more slim that she will get them back,” her father explained to BFMTV last Friday.
The same day, the 24-hour news channel revealed that another child, Clara, 18 months, was also in serious condition. Like Elise, Clara consumed morbier a few days before Christmas. Plunged into an artificial coma for twenty-five days after having been on dialysis for three weeks, Clara, although awake, today displays a particularly worrying state of health. “We are unable to tell us what the neurological consequences will be,” assured his mother to France 2. “She struggles to walk, we don’t know if she will have total mobility,” added her father, anxious about “her future” due to the uncertainties surrounding “her cerebral faculties”. Clara’s left hand is currently paralyzed and it is impossible for her to walk or eat, according to BFMTV which specifies that the child was admitted to a rehabilitation center in Ain.
Contaminated cheeses recalled
The origin of these tragedies lies in the raw milk cheese consumed by the two children before the first symptoms. According to BFMTV, E. Coli bacteria was found in Elise’s stools, thus confirming suspicions. Raw milk cheeses manufactured by Route des Terroirs were also the subject of a recall in mid-December for risks of contamination with this bacteria which can be fatal, particularly in young children. Morbier was part of the list of products pinned on Consumer reminder. On the government site, for several weeks, we have found numerous batches of cheeses (Morbier, Raclette, Tomme – under different brands and presentations) likely to be contaminated by shigatoxigenic E.Coli (STEC, the most dangerous) .
According to Rappel-Conso, “STEC can cause, in the week following the consumption of contaminated products, diarrhea, sometimes bloody, abdominal pain and vomiting, accompanied or not by fever. These symptoms can be followed (5 to 8% of cases) by severe renal complications, mainly in children. The site also specifies that “in the absence of symptoms within ten days after consuming the products concerned, there is no need to worry and consult a doctor”.
Monts-et Terroirs brand Morbier AOP, Entremont raclette cheeses, the list of potentially contaminated products is still long and is available here.
Remember that the alert on these cheeses was issued when in Toulouse, in a crèche located in the Minimes district, six children had just been contaminated by the E. Coli bacteria. In mid-November, the investigation showed that the bacteria was present in raw milk cheeses served to children. Six cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) were then detected. This syndrome can result in kidney failure and is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly.
The specter of the Buitoni affair
Barely two years ago, the health scandal of contaminated Buitoni pizzas broke out. In 2022, two children died from HUS and dozens of others became seriously ill after ingesting pizzas from the brand’s Fraîch’Up range, manufactured in its factory in Caudry (North). The Italian Italpizza has bought the Nord factory, which Nestlé had announced would close in March 2023, we learned last Monday from the two groups. Italpizza, which plans to restart production in the fall of 2024, plans more than twelve million euros of investments by 2028 to modernize the site. The group wishes to hire, before the end of 2028, “around 140 employees”.
Italpizza intends to produce “exclusively pre-cooked products in the oven”, while in operation since 1982, the Caudry factory manufactured these famous Fraîch’Up frozen raw dough pizzas. A judicial investigation has been open since May 2022 in Paris for “involuntary homicide” in the case of two victims and unintentional injuries for 14 others, according to a judicial source. An agreement to compensate the victims, the amount of which was not disclosed, was signed last spring by Nestlé.