The email arrived in its inbox on Friday, April 22. “We would like to apologize for this inconvenience,” writes Buitoni’s consumer service. In compensation, a gift card of 20 euros. Sonia doesn’t even know if she should laugh or cry at the precision, “usable in more than 800 stores” or how to take the incredible mention “good news” which inaugurates the email.
What is she supposed to rejoice about, she who has spent a fortnight of anguish and uncertainty, seeing her daughter writhing, clutching her hands on her stomach? Seven-year-old Mila was infected with the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) after consuming a Fraîch’Up pizza from the range which has already sickened 53 people in France, including 52 children. Two died.
So, does the 32-year-old mother plan to use her voucher? “Never in life, cuts the inhabitant of Vienne sharply. It would be condoning what happened, saying that ultimately it’s not that serious. “This term of” inconvenience “, used by the brand, she dwells on it, and does not digest. Not after the pains, not after the hospital.
Fever and vomiting
This March 9, Mila returns late from her figure skating training, her passion. Like every Wednesday, the family treats itself to “a little pleasure”. That night it will be pizza, three cheeses, and Regina. Three hours later, the little girl has a stomach ache, want to vomit and a fever, to the point that her parents make her sleep in their bed. The next day and the days after, the cramps intensify, the vomiting too. Mila is pale, can’t swallow anything.
The doctor does a PCR test (negative), prescribes antibiotics. At the hospital, where the family goes one night when Mila is screaming, people first think of peritonitis, then of lymph nodes on her stomach. It is finally the more thorough examinations at the University Hospital of Poitiers that will reveal the presence of the E. coli bacterium. “Mila was put on a drip, the doctors gave a very powerful treatment. She had to spend the night in the hospital,” says Sonia.
Even today, her daughter continues to complain about her stomach, she must redo a blood test. Not to mention all those missed school days, in CP, “the class of all learning”, points out his mother. It was she who, after the outbreak of the “Buitoni affair”, declared her misadventure on the site for the repression of fraud, SignalConso.
In accordance with the procedure, the consumer service of Buitoni, which markets the pizzas produced in the Caudry factory (North), recalls it Thursday, April 21. “The lady asked me a lot of questions about my daughter’s state of health, her symptoms, explains Sonia. It lasted fifteen minutes. I confided in myself freely, answering every question. But I found it strange that they asked me if I agreed that they should contact the doctor who treated Mila,” notes Sonia.
Without authorization given, Buitoni, which belongs to the Nestlé group, affirms that no contact with the said doctor has been established. It was the day after the call that the mother received the email with the gift card. “Indecent,” squeaks master Richard Legrand, the family lawyer.
Contacted, Buitoni, assures us that the sending of this email “should not have been done. We would like to offer our most sincere apologies to this consumer who may have been offended by the receipt of these vouchers. We will ensure that this does not happen again”.