On March 18, Nestlé initiated a recall of Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas in France due to the possibility of Escherichia coli O26 contamination of the dough. The recall is a precautionary measure as Santé Publique France (Public Health France) investigates a suspected link between consumption of the frozen pizzas and recent cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that have resulted in the deaths of two children.
Epidemiological, microbiological, and traceability investigations all suggest a link between HUS and the consumption of Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas. The recall has also been issued in Slovenia and Luxembourg, where the Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas were also distributed.
All lots of Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas are included in the recall; expiration dates range from June 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023. Thus far, 27 cases of HUS or similar infections caused by E. coli have been identified in France. Another 31 cases are pending investigation. The 58 cases in question occurred across 12 regions of metropolitan France, with patients presenting symptoms between January 10 and March 10, 2022. Santé Publique France continues to investigate all national cases of pediatric HUS reported since January 1, 2022.
Update, May 17, 2022: French authorities have opened a criminal inquiry of the foodborne illness outbreak linked to E. coli contamination of Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas. Charges include one count of involuntary manslaughter, the injury of 14 people, and marketing an unsafe product.
Update, April 19, 2022: French authorities recently conducted an inspection of a Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizza factory in northern France, which revealed poor food hygiene controls, the presence of rodents, and a lack of pest prevention measures. E. coli O26 and E. coli O103 are serotypes that have been potentially linked to the outbreak.
Update, March 31, 2022: French authorities have confirmed a link between several pediatric E. coli infections and Buitoni Fraîch'up frozen pizzas. There are now 75 total cases of E. coli infection under investigation, including 41 cases of HUS. Buitoni has halted production of its Fraîch’Up pizza line.