Thank goodness for Rosa.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) today submitted for the record a report acquired from a whistleblower who worked at the Abbott facility which produces infant formula recalled by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February. Chair DeLauro spoke about the report at the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hearing.  Here is the material – Redacted Confidential Disclosure re Abbott Laboratories – 10-19-2021_Redacted (1)

The release of this report follows DeLauro’s letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), Christi A. Grimm asking for her assistance in investigating whether the FDA took prompt, appropriate, and effective action leading to the recent recall involving infant formula produced by Abbott Nutrition.

Below are Chair DeLauro’s remarks. A video of the hearing can be found here.

I have questions I will submit for the record, but I want to speak about an extremely disturbing report I recently acquired from a whistleblower who worked at the Abbott facility which produces infant formula recalled by the FDA in February. Chairman Bishop, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share this during this hearing.

Mr. Secretary, to my knowledge you have not seen this report. I bring it to your attention because I know your deep commitment to child nutrition and the WIC program’s importance to maternal and child health outcomes. Abbott Nutrition is the exclusive supplier for the majority of state WIC agencies, and this has a serious impact on families served by WIC – over 1.2 million infants served by WIC are limited to specific brands of “contract formula,” like Similac. I believe you will be as outraged as I am by what this report means for the health of those infants.

In September 2021, FDA learned of the potential link between a rare and deadly foodborne pathogen and powdered infant formula manufactured by Abbott Laboratories in a facility in Sturgis, Michigan. This week I received a 34-page report from a whistleblower, a former employee at the plant which produced the contaminated formula – which led to at least 4 hospitalizations and the deaths of at least 2 babies. The whistleblower report lays out a damning list of allegations of wrongdoing at this factory, including:

  • Falsification of records relating to testing of seals, signing verifications without adequate knowledge, failure to maintain accurate maintenance records, shipping packages with fill weights lower than what was on the label, and more;
  • Releasing untested infant formula;
  • Hiding information during a 2019 FDA audit;
  • Lax practices associated with clean in place procedures;
  • Lack of traceability of the product;
  • Failure to take corrective measures once the company knew their testing procedures were deficient;
  • An atmosphere of retaliation against any employee who raised concerns about company practices.

And these are just a few of the allegations laid out in the report. I want to remind everyone we are talking about infant formula. Parents trust that formula will be safe and healthy for their newborn babies – it should be the most regulated of any product.

I am deeply concerned about the practices at this Abbott facility and their apparent failure to implement and enforce internal controls at this facility. We need to know exactly who in the company was aware of this failure and the alleged attempts to hide this information from the FDA.

I am equally concerned that the FDA reacted far too slowly to this report. The report was submitted to the FDA on October 20, 2021. The FDA did not interview the whistleblower until late December 2021. According to news reports, FDA did not inspect the plant in person until January 31, 2022, and the recall was not issued until February 17, 2022.

Why did the FDA not spring into action? Why did it take four months to pull this formula off store shelves? How many infants were fed contaminated formula during this time, by parents who trusted that the formula they were buying was safe? How many additional illnesses and deaths were there due to FDA’s slow response?

I have already requested that the HHS Inspector General look into this and I can assure you this Committee will also carry out its oversight role to find answers into how this happened and how we can prevent it from ever happening again.

I want to say thank you to this brave whistleblower for coming forward with this critical information. Mr. Chairman, with your permission I would like to submit this report for the Committee record of this hearing. Mr. Secretary, we look to you and USDA for leadership on issues of child nutrition and I strongly encourage you to investigate USDA’s contracts with Abbott Nutrition. If Abbott cannot guarantee the safety of infant formula purchased through the WIC program, the federal government should not be in business with them. I look forward to working with you on this.

Here is FDA’s “response:”

KDKA news reports that after at least 200 people reported getting sick from large events at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, an inspection found two violations before the hotel passed a reinspection a couple of days later.

According to an Allegheny County Health Department report from April 5, an inspector found cleaning and sanitization violations like dirty silverware and mold on speed racks in the vegetable walk-in cooler. The soap dispenser at the dish machine was also out of batteries, the report said.

Two days later, a reinspection report gave satisfactory marks for cleaning and sanitization.

The health department launched an investigation after reports of gastrointestinal illnesses following three large events held at the hotel in Coraopolis on April 2 and April 3.

The first event affected was a bridal shower that was held at the hotel. The family told KDKA 70 people were sickened about 36 hours after. Later that night, a wedding was held there. The couple said of the 155 people in attendance, 80 have reported an illness so far. People who attended a football banquet the next day had the same experience.

Kinder products have been recalled after a Salmonella outbreak, which has mostly affected children under the age of five. As of April 20, the UK Health Security Agency confirmed 73 cases in the UK.  Behind the numbers are the real stories.

“She’s been completely dead behind the eyes & so lifeless”

Charlotte Elizabeth Wingfield issued a warning on Facebook to other parents after her daughter Brooklyn-Mai fell ill whilst at nursery, with her temperature soaring to 39C. It comes after thousands of Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs were recalled from shelves due to fears of a salmonella link, with more than 60 cases detected – mainly in children – in the UK. Ms Wingfield claims her toddler was left “lifeless” after eating a Kinder Surprise egg last weekend. “She slept for 21 out of the following 24 hours & then kept falling asleep as she was doing things,” she wrote on Facebook. “Her temperature spiked to over 39° & I struggled to disturb her. I knew something wasn’t right & spoke to the gp who ran through a list of what it could be alongside a hospital visit.” Following a hospital visit, Ms Wingfield said her daughter was diagnosed with salmonella and has been unwell ever since. “Pleaseee check your chocolate dates & throw them if they fit the recall description,” the mother pleaded on Facebook. “My god, she’s been poorly a couple of times, but this has been something else. In 96 hours, she has been awake for all of about 12-14 of them & when she has been awake, it’s like she’s not been here at all. “She’s been completely dead behind the eyes & so lifeless, it’s been absolutely heartbreaking to see my usually fiery, adventurous & very active baby girl be the complete opposite of everything she usually is.”   

A boy “looked dead”

A boy “looked dead” after being rushed to hospital having consumed a Kinder egg suspected to have contained salmonella. Billy Way ate the product which is at the center of a huge recall. Mum Kasey says she wants compensation. Kasey, 26, told The Mirror: “Billy loves Kinder Surprise eggs, he eats at least one a week. His older brother got a pack of three for his birthday and as he’s not a chocolate fan I gave one to Billy. “It was terrible. It wasn’t worth it for an egg. He couldn’t keep anything down and couldn’t even hold his weight on his feet.” “The doctors were worried he could have gone into a coma as his blood sugar was so low. I was petrified, ” she continued. “When I sent my family a picture of him in hospital, their response was that he looked dead. He looked like he was dying, his mouth was dry, his face was pale, and his eyes were black and sunken. He didn’t sit up for a week.” She added: “The doctors did stool samples and they found bacteria in his poo, which is why they thought it was salmonella. I think it’s careless that salmonella got into the eggs, especially when the main consumer of the product is kids.” She said: “I feel my son should be compensated, even if it’s just so I can take him away to Butlin’s. He spent almost a week in hospital, and he’s lost weight as he didn’t eat any food for seven days.”

“It was absolutely horrific, and we really thought at one point he would have to be hospitalized”

East Belfast FC striker Danny Purkis has issued a Kinder chocolate warning to other parents after his young son was floored with suspected salmonella poisoning. Danny and his wife Lauren bought the company’s popular chocolate bars at the weekend as a treat for their son Theo after the football. But just a day later three-year-old Theo began feeling unwell. The couple, both 26 and living in Bangor, said the youngster was unable to keep anything down, including water, before developing chronic diarrhea. Confectionary giant Ferrero has recalled a number of Kinder products over links to the ongoing salmonella outbreak, which is largely affecting children. “Theo was at the football on Saturday as he goes to watch his dad every week. Afterwards we always take him to the shop and let him pick his treat, which is always the wee Kinder bars,” Lauren told Belfast Live. “He had probably four or five of them but come Sunday afternoon and night, he wouldn’t eat at all and was complaining of a pain in his tummy “We thought maybe he was just trying to get out of eating his lunch or dinner, but he wouldn’t even take an ice-cream, so we knew that wasn’t a good sign. “By around 11.30 on Sunday night, he was getting sick and having diarrhea on the hour every hour. He’s fully toilet trained and everything, but it has been that bad that he has had to wear a nappy for the past three days.” Danny added: “Theo didn’t leave his bedroom at all. He’s normally a hyper-active child at the best of times but he was physically not able to get out of bed. He had to be lifted in and out of the bath and couldn’t walk.” The couple, who are also parents to one-year-old Lillie-Rose, say it got to the point that Theo was on the verge of having to be admitted to hospital. “Any time he drank his juice or water, it just came back up again. He was just so lethargic and unresponsive and lying on the floor at times being sick. “We had doctors on the phone the whole time and if he hadn’t been able to keep liquids down today, he would have had to go to hospital and be put on an IV drip,” Lauren added. “The Kinder chocolate is the only thing that all this stems from because his sister didn’t have any and she has been totally fine. If it was a bug, Lillie-Rose would have had it too because they are always in such close contact. “The chocolate was part of the date batch that has been recalled so we have had to dump any other Kinder products we’ve still got in the house, including Easter eggs bought for this weekend. “It was absolutely horrific, and we really thought at one point he would have to be hospitalized. He has always taken any cold or anything else on the chin.” “We just want everyone to be aware of this especially with Easter coming up as we wouldn’t wish this on any other parent,” Danny added. “Just to be safe, we won’t be giving our two any Kinder products for a while after what Theo has been through and will be checking everything.” Thankfully the couple say Theo is slowly on the mend. “He’s still not eating and is on anti-sickness medication and living on Dioralyte. He is sleeping a lot but got of bed today for the first time. “He also said he wanted to play football with me and has been asking for a pizza, so we know he’s improving but I’ve never seen him so sick in the three years that we’ve had him,” Danny said.   

The Loudoun County Health Department is notifying the public of the exposure to a specific type of bacterium, called Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC), by several people who came in contact with goats at Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville between March 6 and April 20, 2022. Several individuals experienced diarrhea and other symptoms of illness. The bacterium was isolated and identified by the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.

Coming into direct contact with animals, particularly livestock, presents a risk for illnesses. People should remember that, while animal interactions can be fun and educational, it’s always important to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands after being in contact with animals. The Loudoun County Health Department is communicating directly with those who are known to have come in contact with goats at Georges Mill Farm. Anyone who had contact with these goats during this time frame and has not yet communicated with the Health Department should:

Monitor for illness and seek medical attention if you become ill. Let your healthcare provider know of your possible exposure to assist in your diagnosis and treatment.

E. Coli Symptoms

Symptoms of E. coli illness usually start two to four days after exposure, but can occur as late as 12 hours later, or as long as 10 days after exposure. Symptoms of STEC may include:

  • Diarrhea with stomach cramps
  • Blood may also be present in the stool
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills

In a very small percentage of cases (approximately 2% to 7%) particularly higher risk groups such as children under the age of 5, the immunocompromised, and the elderly, a more severe complication known as HUS (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome) may occur. That complication includes kidney failure and anemia, and often results in prolonged hospitalization. However, the large majority of people exposed to STEC do not develop HUS and recover completely from their diarrhea within 5 to 10 days. More specific information on E. coli, including STEC, is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.


Health officials remind everyone that there are steps they can take to help prevent contracting illnesses from animals, which sometimes carry germs that can make people sick. Animals that look clean and healthy can carry harmful germs, and even areas where animals live, or roam can contain germs that can make people sick. Having contact with the animals’ environment can also be a risk factor for illness. Every year, many people get sick after visiting animal exhibits, such as petting zoos, aquariums, farms, or fairs. Preventive steps to take include:

  • Wash your hands right after touching animals or anything in the areas where they live, roam or eat. Even if you didn’t touch the animals or wore gloves, wash your hands when you leave animal areas.
  • Running water and soap are best, but if they are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and wash your hands with soap and running water as soon as you can.
  • Don’t eat or drink around animals and keep food and drinks away from animal areas.
  • Children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems and adults over 65 years of age are more likely to get sick from the germs animals can carry and should take extra precautions at animal exhibits.

Take these extra precautions for children:

  • Always supervise children around animals.
  • Leave items such as strollers, pacifiers, cups, or toys outside the exhibit.
  • Don’t let children put their thumbs, fingers, or objects such as pacifiers in their mouths when they’re around animals or in an animal area.
  • Don’t let children sit or play on the ground in animal areas.
  • Teach children to approach animals with caution and follow the rules provided on signs or verbally by the staff.
  • Children 5 years of age and younger should not have contact with reptiles, amphibians, or live poultry because these animals are more likely to make them sick. Parents of children in this age group should also consider not letting the children have direct contact with other types of livestock.

See also

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources:

Santé publique France reports that as of 13/04/2022, 53 confirmed cases have been identified, of which 51 are linked to O26 strains, and 2 to O103 strains. For 26 other cases of HUS and STEC infections notified to Public Health France, investigations are ongoing.

These 53 cases occurred in 52 children and 1 adult, who presented symptoms between 01/18/2022 (week 3) and 03/16/2022 (week 11); for 1 adult, the date of onset of symptoms is under investigation.

These 53 cases occurred in 12 regions of metropolitan France: Hauts-de-France (11 cases), New Aquitaine (8 cases), Pays de la Loire (7 cases), Brittany (6 cases), Ile-de-France (9 cases), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (2 cases), Bourgogne Franche-Comté (2 cases), Grand Est (2 cases), Occitanie (2 cases), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (2 cases) and Center Val-de-Loire (1 case).

The 52 sick children are aged from 1 to 17 years with a median age of 7 years; 23 (44%) are female; 46 (88%) presented with HUS, 6 (20%) with STEC gastroenteritis. Two children died. The 2 adults are over 90 years old.

Here are several of the stories – badly translated – but, still horrible to read.

Aurélie, 34, and her husband John, 40, led “a normal family life”. Everything was turned upside down when their two sons fell seriously ill, poisoned by the E. coli bacteria via Buitoni pizzas, a brand of the food giant Nestlé. The two boys of Aurélie Micouleau and John Delpech have developed what scientists call hemolytic and uremic syndromes (HUS), which particularly affect young children. The two boys have now returned home. But the damage to the kidneys is irreversible, assures John, who put his commercial activity on hold: “No doctor is able to tell us if their condition will deteriorate in a month or in twenty years”.

“She was at death’s door. She is now locked up in her body.” The parents of Léna, 12, infected in February with E. coli bacteria after eating a pizza from the Fraîch’Up range of the Buitoni brand, testify to their ordeal. A “real nightmare” that has been going on for two months now. Then the exams show “big lesions”, “in the frontal lobe and on the back of the brain”. Léna is in a vegetative state, she no longer speaks, cannot see, and is fed by nasogastric tube. ” Today, they can’t tell us if she will make it ,” the parents worry. “Our life is broken”, they conclude at the microphone of our colleagues, moved.

Aurore and her family were infected with E. coli bacteria after eating a Buitoni pizza. Eight days later, her 19-year-old son is still suffering from worrying symptoms. Health authorities have confirmed a direct link between serious health concerns detected in some forty children and the consumption of Fraîch’Up pizzas from Buitoni. She, her husband, and her son consumed it on March 21 and all were contaminated by the bacteria after eating a Buitoni brand Fraich’Up pizza. The couple have only been sick for 48 hours but their 19-year-old son, Tristan, is still bedridden . Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness.

This Monday, April 18, 2022, the mother of a little girl who ate a Buitoni pizza testified to the hell that her family is going through in TPMP. It has now been several days since pizzas contaminated with E.coli from the Buitoni brand have been recalled. Indeed, several of them have caused poisoning in children, including the death of two of them. Amélie, Julia’s nine-year-old mother, was able to go to Cyril Hanouna’s set to talk about all this. First, the young woman opened about her family’s descent into hell: ” She even ate two pizzas, one with cheese and one with Bolognese on February 16. It was going very well and on Tuesday 22 February, she started to be sick. She contracted a kind of gastro six days later. She had diarrhea, she had a lot of wind pain, she was nauseous but she was not vomiting. I went to the general practitioner Thursday, he told me that she probably had a big gastro (…) she gave me a treatment for a gastro”. But things got worse, she continues: ” The next morning she had a waxy complexion, it’s not like gastro, I felt that she was not well, she was on the ground. I was at the pediatric ward in St Etienne, they took care of me straight away, they did check-ups. She was immediately admitted to intensive care (…) Her condition was getting worse. When I asked if my daughter was going to die , I was told that they could not answer me”. The following Sunday, the little girl was transported by helicopter from Saint Etienne to Lyon. “On Monday she went to the block, we stayed six days in intensive care (…) we were released on March 15, she is under surveillance at home, she could not go back to school” lamented Amélie who is afraid to feed her daughter now. Moreover, this contamination could have serious consequences. Apart from the fact that the checkups are not good, Julia must see the doctor every week and do urine and blood tests. She could have sequelae like blood pressure or a kidney transplant that could show up in a few years… A heartbreaking story.

At the end of January, it’s pizza night with Chloé’s family. Her 12-year-old son Robin eats a pizza from the Fraîch’up range by Buitoni, the family’s favorite brand. Two days later, he begins to have a stomachache, becomes pale, sleeps a lot. Doctors suspect gastroenteritis. But at the end of the week, his condition worsens: he no longer eats, can no longer stand, his eyes turn yellow. Chloe then takes him to the emergency room. “When we arrived at the hospital in Lille, the pediatrician bluntly told us that his vital prognosis was engaged, tells Chloé to RMC. If within 48 hours, it affects the liver, the brain, and the heart, it’s Your life passes before you, and you wonder if your life is going to end. You imagine that he is dead and that you are going to his funeral. And you wonder if you are going to live on without him. His two kidneys had stopped, they didn’t work anymore. Within a day, it was too late. He will be sentenced to life on a salt-free diet, and he may have kidney problems later. It became an anguish permanent every night I get up to see if he’s okay.” Robin’s parents are no longer alone with their questions. They joined a Facebook group where the parents of child victims are identified. This group is that of the association “SHU T – Typical Hemolytic and Uremic Syndrome “Let’s get out of silence””. One of the mothers says that her two sons are hospitalized, one of whom is still in intensive care. Among these angry parents, Malo, the father of a 4-year-old girl, Sacha. She too found herself between life and death after eating a Buitoni pizza. She stayed in the hospital for three weeks and on dialysis for 15 days.

In Saint-Varent in the Deux-Sèvres, three children aged two and a half, nine and ten years old were very seriously ill because of the Escherichia coli bacterium. Their mother confirms that she had bought a pizza from the Buitoni brand in January. Between January 25 and February 22, the life of this family from Saint-Varent, in Deux-Sèvres turned into a nightmare. It all starts with their ten-year-old daughter showing symptoms of gastroenteritis. The doctor, after an examination of the child, concluded that he had gastroenteritis. But two days later, the child screams in pain, vomits and becomes dehydrated. Taken to the emergency room, the child will be hospitalized after her mother insisted with the doctors by explaining that her daughter does not have the habit of screaming in pain. But her condition deteriorated, her renal functions, and she was rushed to the Nantes University Hospital, in the nephrology department. She is placed on dialysis four to five hours a day, then every other day. She receives blood transfusions and opioids to ease the pain. In addition to her kidneys, her liver is affected she has pancreatitis. And then little by little his condition improves. On February 5, the youngest of the siblings is sick. She is two and a half years old. Gastroenteritis is also diagnosed. but there again, the little girl’s condition deteriorates, she vomits, staggers, dozes. Urgently transported to Nantes hospital, she convulsed, and her heart was giving out. She spent six days in intensive care with a vital prognosis. Within an hour, she could have died. My daughter almost died. The little one is very seriously affected, her kidneys hardly work anymore, her liver is affected, her heart and even her brain. She develops encephalopathy. Then her condition improved, she left intensive care for the nephrology department. On February 15, it is the nine-year-old boy who is in turn ill. Same symptoms as his sisters, he is hospitalized in Nantes in serious condition, but will recover a few days later.

Mickaël and Leslie are the parents of Bérénice, 7 years old. The little girl is in a coma after eating a frozen pizza: 75 children are currently affected by E.coli contamination.  Families and other families await the conclusions of this investigation, like Mickaël and Leslie, the parents of Bérénice, 7 years old. A Buitoni pizza on Wednesday noon was Bérénice’s ritual with her mother and her big sister. One Wednesday evening, at the end of February, she experiences intestinal symptoms, such as gastroenteritis: stomach aches, diarrhea. His father, Mickaël, then takes him to the doctor the next morning. He tells the rest on franceinfo: ” The doctor sent us to the emergency room. And behind, it was the descent into hell. The kidneys no longer worked; it attacked the heart. There were two cardiac arrests, including one with one-hour cardiac massage. Bérénice is sedated, placed in a coma for twelve days now.” According to the doctors of the CHRU of Tours, Bérénice suffers from a severe form of the hemolytic and uremic syndrome, caused by this bacterium. His father now tells us about the back and forth between the hospital, the house, and the school of the big one, as well as all the steps with Public Health France to find where this bacterium comes from. ” We were contacted by Public Health France the day after our admission to the hospital. They asked us questions about our diet, where did we go to do our shopping… They are still on the ‘investigation, on the analyzes, even if they are still moving towards Buitoni pizzas. It would be a trend, but we are not sure of anything yet. “

Little Marceau, 4 and a half years old, came close to death. The child, poisoned by E.coli bacteria after eating a contaminated pizza, was finally able to be treated by doctors at Lille hospital. Extremely shocked, her mother testifies to La Dépêche of the days of anguish that the family has spent.  Marceau returned to school just ten days ago with strict recommendations: not to eat salty foods. And, if he hurts himself, do not take anti-inflammatories. “He will never be able to get stung in the arm again either, breathes his mother, still tested by the seven weeks she has just spent. We must keep his veins intact for a transfusion in case he has another kidney problem. “When I arrived at Lille hospital, he greeted me, telling me that the next 72 hours were going to be decisive. That the bacteria were attacking the kidneys but that it could potentially also attack the heart and the brain. J was devastated.”

The mother of Nolan, 12, and that of Yatis, 4, who have just left the hospital. Nolan, 12, is one of these little victims. He left the hospital a few days ago after two long weeks of anguish. “He vomited almost nine days, seven times a day. We went to the doctor who thought it was gastroenteritis. But he went to intensive care for three days. He was infused, probed, transfused We are tired. Tired of following its evolution. The doctors who tell us: ‘we don’t know how long he’s going to be like this, tired'”, says his mother, Vanessa Schneider, in the video of the 8 p.m. news at the top of this article.  Like Nolan and Yatis, 73 other children aged 1 to 18 were infected with E. coli bacteria. On Wednesday March 30, the health authorities established a link between some of these contaminations and frozen pizzas from the Fraîch’Up range of the Buitoni brand.

Manoé, he spent twelve days in pediatric intensive care in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), in February. Hospitalized in Brest for three weeks, Sasha, who will soon be 5 years old, is better today, but her kidneys were no longer working after consuming Buitoni pizza in mid-February. “We go to the hospital with her child because we think she has severe gastroenteritis, and then after the analyzes we tell you that she is going to intensive care”, testifies with a heavy heart, Malo Coz, a Brestois, dad of little Sasha, almost five years old, who spent three weeks at the Morvan hospital of the Brest CHRU, from March 1.The first symptoms, as early as February 26, were stomach aches and diarrhea. It was therefore impossible to make the connection with the frozen Buitoni Fraîch’Up pizza. “The doctors told us that his kidneys were no longer working. In the operating room, he had to put a dialysis catheter. At that age, you don’t have to go through that! “, accuses Malo, whose little girl was a victim of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) due to contamination by the bacterium Escherichia coli. The little Brestoise was able to leave the hospital after 15 days of dialysis and now she is better. “We came home on a very strict diet. Restrictions are easing, but there is still salt and chocolate. As she loves school, she wanted to go back as soon as possible. She begged the doctor, but she only stayed in the morning last week: she is still very tired.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports, that since the WHO Disease Outbreak News on Acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was published on 15 April 2022, there have been continuing further reports of cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin among young children. It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected. While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent.

As of 21 April 2022, at least 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported from 11 countries in the WHO European Region and one country in the WHO Region of the Americas (Figure 1). Cases have been reported in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom) (114), Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States of America (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (<5), The Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1), and Belgium (1). Cases are aged 1 month to 16 years old. Seventeen children (approximately 10%) have required liver transplantation; at least one death has been reported.

The clinical syndrome among identified cases is acute hepatitis (liver inflammation) with markedly elevated liver enzymes. Many cases reported gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting preceding presentation with severe acute hepatitis, and increased levels of liver enzymes (aspartate transaminase (AST) or alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) greater the 500 IU/L) and jaundice. Most cases did not have a fever. The common viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E) have not been detected in any of these cases.  International travel or links to other countries based on the currently available information have not been identified as factors.

Adenovirus has been detected in at least 74 cases, and of the number of cases with information on molecular testing, 18 have been identified as F type 41. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 20 cases of those that were tested. Furthermore, 19 were detected with a SARS-CoV-2 and adenovirus co-infection.

The United Kingdom, where the majority of cases have been reported to date, has recently observed a significant increase in adenovirus infections in the community (particularly detected in faecal samples in children) following low levels of circulation earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Netherlands also reported concurrent increasing community adenovirus circulation.

Nevertheless, due to enhanced laboratory testing for adenovirus, this could represent the identification of an existing rare outcome occurring at levels not previously detected that is now being recognized due to increased testing.

Since the outbreaks were first identified in 2016, 37 states have publicly reported the following as of April 15, 2022

  • Cases: 44,209
  • Hospitalizations: 27,018 (61%)
  • Deaths: 420
  • 37 States

Get vaccinated – also, please, food service workers, get vaccinated too.

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) causes an acute, self-limiting infection of the liver that is typically mild and resolves spontaneously. The clinical manifestations and duration of illness vary a great deal, with many persons, especially young children, showing no symptoms at all. The proportion of asymptomatic infections range between 30% in adults and up to 90% in children under age 5. The clinical signs of HAV infection include dark urine and, sometimes, clay-colored stool, often accompanied or followed by jaundice. Associated symptoms may involve fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and extreme fatigue.  See,

France is now also reporting 42 sick with 13 hospitalized.  Product was shipped world-wide.

According to EU health officials: The outbreak is characterised by an unusually high proportion of children being hospitalised, some with severe clinical symptoms such as bloody diarrhoea. Based on interviews with patients and initial analytical epidemiological studies, specific chocolate products (Kinder) have been identified as the likely route of infection. Affected cases have been identified through advanced molecular typing techniques. As this method of testing is not routinely performed in all countries, some cases may be undetected.

Product recalls have been launched globally and examples of these can be found on several countries web sites including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and the UK. The recalls aim to prevent the consumption of products potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Further investigations are being conducted by public health and food safety authorities in countries where cases are reported, to identify the cause and the extent of the contamination, and to ensure contaminated products are not put on the market.

53 confirmed and 26 suspected cases so far – there have been 2 deaths,  but that is from update last week.

I was reading (using Google Translate) Florence Méréo’s article – Bactérie E.coli : avant les pizzas Buitoni, Nestlé avait déjà été empêtré dans un scandale sanitaire – and could not help cringing about the injuries of the victims and the similarities for another Nestlé  problem over a decade ago.

As Food Safety News wrote a week ago (I assume that number has grown):

French health officials have confirmed 50 cases of E. coli linked to a type of Nestlé frozen pizza.

Of these infections, 48 were caused by E. coli O26 and two by E. coli O103, according to Santé publique France, the French public health agency.

Another 25 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections are still being investigated. HUS is a type of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections that can result in lifelong, serious health problems and death.

Buitoni brand Fraîch’Up pizzas sold since June 2021 were withdrawn and recalled in mid-March after Nestlé was warned about the potential presence of E. coli O26 in dough used to make them.

Of the 50 patients, 48 are children and two are adults. They fell ill between Jan. 18 and March 14. The two adults are older than 90, with one having developed HUS.

Sick children are between 1 and 17 years old with a median age of 7. Twenty are females and 28 are males. Two youngsters died but it is not known if they ate the pizzas and their deaths are under investigation.

Eleven patients live in Hauts-de-France, eight in Nouvelle Aquitaine, seven in Pays de la Loire, six in Bretagne and Ile-de-France, three in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, two each in Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and one in Centre Val-de-Loire.

In 2009, the CDC reported:

As of Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 72 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 30 states. Of these, 51 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (6), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (2), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (6), Missouri (1), Montana (1), North Carolina (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (4), Virginia (2), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1).

Ill persons range in age from 2 to 65 years; however, 65% are less than 19 years old; 71% are female. Thirty-four persons have been hospitalized, 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); none have died.

On June 29, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a culture of a sample of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough currently under recall yielded E. coli O157:H7. The contaminated sample was collected at the firm on June 25, 2009.

Here we go again.

According to STAT News, health authorities in North Carolina say they are investigating two cases of hepatitis in young children, making the state the second to report cases that appear to be linked to an outbreak that is being seen in a growing number of countries. Alabama first noticed a cluster of five cases last November and notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with which it has been working to try to determine the cause of the illnesses. Alabama has since recorded four more cases.

The number of countries reporting these unusual cases of hepatitis continues to rise, with reports that France is investigating two suspected cases in Lyon and Israel is studying a dozen children who had unexplained cases of hepatitis over the past four months, two requiring liver transplants.

The U.K., the U.S., Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Ireland have all reported cases. To date the largest number has been reported by the U.K., which has now recorded 108 cases — 79 in England, 14 in Scotland, and 15 in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Health authorities in the United States and some European countries on Thursday cautioned doctors to be on the lookout for young children suffering from signs of hepatitis and urging parents to make sure their children wash their hands well and often as investigations continue into cases of unexplained hepatitis in kids.

The leading hypothesis at present is that infection with an Adenovirus, a virus normally associated with colds, may have triggered the liver inflammation in affected children.

Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses such as:

  • common cold or flu-like symptoms
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • acute bronchitis (inflammation of the airways of the lungs, sometimes called a “chest cold”)
  • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach or intestines causing diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain)