Botulism toll climbs to 8 in France; company not registered, inadequate processing

Those stricken with botulism in France has climbed to eight as investigators determined the company that produced the suspect tapenade was never registered and had never undergone inspection.

In Avignon, five people who had shared a family meal on Thursday evening were admitted over the weekend to intensive care, where they are still on life support. "Two are close to sixty and three octogenarians," said the prefecture.

At Amiens (Somme), three young women, two sisters, aged 23 to 29, were placed for "at least three weeks" and a respirator under general anesthesia. The first symptoms manifested themselves in the aftermath of Sunday dinner.

Cans of green olive tapenade with almonds produced by the establishment "hive" of Cavaillon (Vaucluse) and sold under the brand " The delights of Marie Claire" have been fingered in the outbreak.

"The material used is unsuitable for sterilization was done with a washing machine type," said the secretary general of the prefecture, Martine Clavel.

The factory, installed in 2000, had never been subject to control. The owners did not make any inspection themselves and they had not asked for technical assistance.

According to the information provided, the suspect consignment contains about 60 jars of tapenade sold in grocery stores in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, Var and Vaucluse.