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Nestlé agrees to compensate French victims of deadly pizza scandal

The agreement comes after two children died and dozens fell seriously ill after eating contaminated pizza last year

Nestlé France said that it had reached a compensation agreement with each of the victims and their families Pic: JeanLucIchard / Shutterstock

Food giant Nestlé has agreed to pay compensation to dozens of victims of the Buitoni pizza scandal.

Two children died and dozens of other people were left seriously ill after the products were contaminated with the deadly E.coli bacteria.

The company and the victims signed an out-of-court ‘amiable compensation’ agreement on March 31, the two groups announced on April 17. They did not specify the sums agreed.

In a statement to AFP, Nestlé France said it wanted to “contribute to helping the victims and their families, within a reasonable timeframe”.

It added: "Each of the people concerned will receive a compensation proposal from Nestlé France, following a medical assessment, which will take into account, in a fair manner, the seriousness of the injuries and each situation.”

The scandal happened last year after the consumption of pizzas under the Fraîch'Up Buitoni brand, which is owned by Nestlé. The company later recalled its pizzas and closed the production factory in Caudry (Nord).

Read more: E. coli risk: Buitoni recalls all Fraîch’up frozen pizzas in France 

Lawyer Pierre Debuisson, who represented 62 victims, said in a separate statement to AFP that the trial would “allow fair compensation and an ending proportional to the problems” faced.

During the trial in Nanterre, he accused Nestlé of committing a “serious fault”, and asked for compensation of €250million for his clients. The hearing had been scheduled for May 9. The out-of-court agreement means that the court case will now not take place.

Nestlé said: “Within the context of civil proceedings, amicable settlements are common and make it possible to put an end to civil litigation without exhausting the criminal proceedings [which] will take their course.”

A judicial case was opened in May 2022 in Paris, into the charges of “manslaughter and unintentional injury”. Nestlé has not so far appeared in court.

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French legal investigation opened after two contaminated pizza deaths

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