LMonday, July 11, the CEO of Nestlé France came out of silence and apologized to the families affected by the health crisis of Buitoni pizzas contaminated with E.coli bacteria. Wishing to express [sa] deepest compassion”, Christophe Cornu deplored “a human tragedy”, during an interview with the Figaro. This is the first time that the leader of the agri-food group has spoken since the emergence of the case in France. “We have never experienced such a crisis,” he said, adding that he “regrets” if his silence offended the victims.
According to Christophe Cornu, Nestlé France took “from the start aware of the seriousness” of the case. As a reminder, nearly one million pizzas from the Buitoni brand were urgently recalled after a report from Public Health France concerning a link between these frozen products and cases of serious hemolytic and uremic syndromes (HUS) linked to the bacterium E .coli. “All Nestlé employees in France and I are particularly upset by what has happened to the families. We owe these families answers, we owe them transparency and the truth,” added the CEO of the company to the Figaroassuring that Nestlé France “will take all its responsibilities”.
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Pizzas from Buitoni’s Fraîch’Up range are suspected of having caused the death of two children. On March 18, Nestlé closed two pizza production lines. The Nord prefecture banned the activity of the Buitoni factory in Caudry (Nord) by order of April 1. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation after several serious cases of contamination of children and deaths. In detail, the investigation relates to the offenses of “cheating on goods, display or sale of corrupt or falsified food products harmful to health, placing on the market of a product harmful to health, endangering ‘others, unintentional injury and manslaughter’.
A victim compensation fund
For the time being, Nestlé France says it is analyzing the flours used in the recipes of the Fraîch’up range. “I cannot commit to a date for the end of the investigation, but I undertake to give all the answers as soon as we know more”, promised the CEO in the columns of the Figaro. A support fund for victims has been opened and “will in no way replace the compensation that justice may decide”.
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