French boy permanently disabled by E. coli in frozen beef

In June, 2011, eight children in Northern France were initially diagnosed with E. coli O157 after eating beef burgers bought from German discount retailer, Lidl.

In May 2012, the Institut de veille sanitaire summarized the outbreak, and revealed 17 children were sickened, 16 from E. coli O157-O177 and 1 due to E. coli O157-O26.

Now, a trial has begun for two former executives of French frozen food company SEB, charged with a “deliberate violation of safety obligations” that put customers at risk and caused involuntary injuries. Their trial began on Tuesday, June 6, and the two men face prison if convicted.

SEB has since gone out of business.

According to The Local, in 2011 a two-year-old boy named Nolan Moittie was one of 17 people in France who became seriously ill after eating steak hachés, or chopped steak patties, that were contaminated with E. coli bacteria, and which had been sold frozen at a Lidl grocery store. The illness caused the two-year-old boy to have a heart attack and fall into a coma while in the hospital.

The E. coli infection caused irreversible damage, and while Moittie survived and is now eight years old, he can’t talk and no longer has the use of 80 percent of his body. Doctors say the damage is irreversible.

But neither man is accepting responsibility and the defense is claiming that the illness from the minced beef was a result of consumers not storing and preparing them properly. 
Just cook it doesn’t cut it.
“Money as they say, won’t bring you happiness,  and it won’t help my son get back to how he was before,” his mother Priscilla said.
Steak hachés are a staple dish in France, particularly among children. In 2009 some 250,000 tonnes were sold, half of which were sold as frozen products.

Police question hamburger producer in France following E. coli O157 outbreak; more hearings to come

(Translated by the students in FREN3310 Introduction to French to English translation at the University of Queensland)

This is something not seen in the U.S.

Following an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak which sickened up to 10 children in Northern France in June, 2011, three directors, including the president of the French frozen beef patty manufacturer SEB, were detained and questioned, according to information released by the Douai prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.

SEB’s CEO Guy Lamorlette, the director of quality control, and the quality technician were taken into custody on Tuesday morning by Lille Police investigators and the Public Health Department. According to the Prosecutor Eric Vaillant in Douai, the police then began searching the business.

The three directors were released Tuesday at 10 p.m., added the prosecutor, who will decide whether to open a judicial inquiry in the coming days. The three men could be given three years in prison and fined 45,000 euros for involuntary injuries.

At least two other members of SEB’s management will be interviewed on Wednesday, announced the prosecution.

The discount chain Lidl, who represented 60% of SEB’s orders, terminated their contract with the manufacturer in August. Headquartered in Saint-Dizier (Haunte-Marne), SEB has 140 employees and is in receivership.

A preliminary inquiry into involuntary injuries is in the hands of the Douai prosecutor’s office, and nine families have filed complaints.

Since June, around 10 cases of E. coli O157 have been confirmed among children in the North of France, according to the regional health authority (ARS). Several of the children had consumed frozen beef patties manufactured by SEB.