Two ex-managers of SEB, which was based in the French department of Haute-Marne in the north east, go on trial on Tuesday in front of a criminal court in the northern French town of Douais.
French boy left disabled after eating a steak haché: Former company bosses go on trial
7 June 2017
7 June 2017
Former frozen food company bosses go on trial in France this week over the shocking case of an 11-year-old boy who was left permanently disabled after eating a contaminated steak haché - a minced beef steak widely eaten in France, especially by children.
The case dates back to 2011 when Nolan Moittie, then just two years-old, lost the use of 80 percent of his body after eating a steak haché.
Now eight years-old, Nolan is still unable to walk or talk.
His condition is all down to a particularly dangerous strain of the E.Coli bacteria -- especially risky to children and potentially fatal -- that was found in a batch of frozen steak hachés sold by now defunct French frozen food suppliers SEB under the name "Steak Country".
The contaminated meat had been sold by discount German supermarket chain Lidl.
Another 17, mostly children, were also left very seriously ill after eating the meat.
At the time the two-year-old Nolan was originally misdiagnosed with minor constipation before being hospitalised when the pain became extreme.
It was while he was in hospital he suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma and doctors discovered that toxins from the bacteria had already passed into his bloodstream.
The impact the bacteria had on his body was irreversible.
"If it had been a car crash, or a rare illness I would understand, but not a simple steak haché," his mother Priscilla told BFM TV.
The ex-SEB boss, who is facing up to three years in jail if convicted, and the one time head of quality and hygiene at the company are charged with causing "involuntary injuries caused by a manifestly deliberate violation of safety obligations", putting people "at risk" and "deceit".
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.
"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.