the Bella Napoli range contaminated? What risks?


BUITONI PIZZA. Buitoni’s Bella Napoli pizzas are the subject of a complaint and suspected of being contaminated with E.coli bacteria like the Fraîch’Up pizzas before it. The brand’s Bella Napoli range is still on sale.

[Mis à jour le 5 mai 2022 à 17h18] Buitoni pizzas are again singled out. After Fraîch’Up, suspicions of contamination with E. coli bacteria target the “Bella Napoli” product range. A first complaint concerning the pizzas in the range was filed by a couple on Wednesday May 4 after the young woman and mother of a family was contaminated according to infirmations from BFM TV. The story dates back to March 27 when the consumer tasted a slice of Bella Napoli pizza, two days after symptoms of contamination with E. coli bacteria appeared: painful stomach aches, vomiting and fever. Hospitalized, the young woman remained in the hospital for six days and said she had “never experienced pain like that” according to the details of theAFP. Medical examinations confirmed the presence of two bacteria: E.coli and Shigella.

Doctors were the first to suspect contamination with E.coli bacteria. “The doctor came to my room and asked me if I had eaten a pizza in the last few days, showing me all the pizzas from Buitoni”, relates the mother of the family. The young woman and her husband decided to sue the brand and filed a complaint against Buitoni and Nestlé, the owner of the frozen pizza brand, on Wednesday May 4. Their lawyer judges that “the precautionary principle is totally flouted in this case, by Nestlé, by the health authorities, and by the courts”. In addition to the complaint, this new case of E.coli was reported to regional health agencies and supermarkets, but the steps were not enough to remove the products from the Bella Napoli range from supermarket shelves.

Are Buitoni’s Bella Napoli pizzas contaminated?

Bella Napoli is the second line of Buitoni products to be involved in a case of E.coli contamination. For now, only one complaint has been filed against the brand for this specific product. If the legal proceedings have been initiated by a consumer, the link between the consumption of a Bella Napoli pizza and the infection with the E. coli bacterium is only suspected. Buitoni’s recent history with the scandal of Fraîch’Up pizzas contaminated with the same bacteria in March, however, suggests that the product was responsible for the contamination. The doctors were the first to establish a link between the new case of E.coli and the frozen pizzas of the Buitoni brand as indicated by the contaminated consumer at BFM TV : “The doctor came to my room and asked me if I had eaten a pizza in the last few days, showing me all the pizzas of Buitoni”.

It is likely that Bella Napoli pizzas are indeed contaminated with E.coli bacteria. All Buitoni products are prepared in the only factory that the brand has in France and located in Caudry in the Nord department. The factory was scrutinized by health inspections after the Fraîch’up pizza affair and the checks revealed “a degraded level of control of food hygiene”. A prefectural decree from the North has also highlighted “the presence of rodents and the absence of means of protection against the entry of pests and of effective pest control adapted to a food activity”, in addition to a “lack of maintenance and cleaning of manufacturing, storage and passage areas”. So many shortcomings which “constitute a significant source of microbiological, physical or chemical contamination of the foodstuffs handled in the establishment, which therefore present or are likely to present a danger to the health of consumers”, according to the decree of the prefecture. North.

Contaminated “Fraîch’Up” pizzas, scandal at Buitoni

Before the Bella Napoli pizzas, it was the Fraîch’Up range, also marketed by Buitoni, which was singled out after the consumption of the products led to contamination and caused violent symptoms in dozens of children. At the end of March, analyzes confirmed “a link between several cases [de malades et e graves contaminations] and the consumption of frozen pizzas from the Fraîch’Up range of the Buitoni brand contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria”, explained the Directorate General of Health in a press release. Highlighting the correlation forced Buitoni to recall all its products from the Fraîch’Up range placed on the shelves before March 18.

In addition to the withdrawal of products from the range of supermarket shelves, Buitoni has since the beginning of April been the subject of an investigation initiated by the Paris prosecutor’s office for “involuntary homicides”, “deception” and ” endangering others”.

Recall of Buitoni pizzas, which products are affected?

First and only product whose contamination with E.coli bacteria is certain, Buitoni’s Fraîch’Up pizzas are the only products of the brand to have been recalled. All batches of the product with an expiry date ranging from June 1, 2021 until March 31, 2023 have been removed from the shelves of the Auchan, Casino, Carrefour, Cora, Francap, Franprix, Intermarché, Leclerc, Lidl, Match, Monoprix and System U. As for the batches already sold, customers were asked to return the products to avoid any risk of contamination with E.coli bacteria due to a Buitoni pizza.

Bella Napoli pizzas are not yet the subject of a product recall and are still available on supermarket shelves to the chagrin of the complaining consumer and her lawyer.

Symptoms, dangerousness… What is this E.coli bacterium?

The E. coli bacterium which contaminated Buitoni’s Fraîch’Up pizzas and suspected of being present in the Bella Napoli range of pizzas establishes itself in the digestive tract and although most of the bacteria in this family are harmless, some may lead to various and more or less serious disorders. Painful stomach aches, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever are the most recurrent symptoms but E.coli can cause hemorrhagic colitis and in the most serious cases it can evolve into a syndrome hemolytic and uremic (HUS). HUS “is characterized by impaired kidney function and a drop in the concentration of blood cells. A quarter of people suffering from HUS also develop neurological complications which can lead to a state of coma”, details the Pasteur Institute. . It is especially in children that the E.coli bacterium develops and can be dangerous. In France, of the 55 E.coli contaminations reported in the latest report from Public Health France dated April 25, 54 concern children. For these infected children, the risk of keeping sequelae from the contamination is significant. Several testimonials from parents whose children have been infected report the sometimes serious consequences of the infection. On BFM TV a mother of two children aged 3 and 9 explains that they still keep traces of their contamination more than two months after eating the Buitoni pizzas. “The little one is still in kidney failure,” she says, listing the symptoms of the infection.

Two children dead from E.Coli, Buitoni pizzas responsible?

Two children died after being contaminated with the E.coli bacterium, but in these two cases the link with Buitoni pizzas is not confirmed, even if it is established that the children consumed products from the Fraîch’ range. Up before getting sick. The brand has not spoken since the scandal, even less on the death of these two children. Buitoni’s silence angered the parents of the infected children. “We have no word of apology, no return from them, and I find that completely unacceptable”, denounced a consumer and mother of a family to BFM TV. For only answer, the mark sent a voucher of 20 euros to certain family, in particular to one of the two children died of the bacterium E.coli. A behavior that shocked despite the explanations of Buitoni who mentioned an error and apologized to the family.

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