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FOOD & DRINK

French prosecutors raid pizza factory after E.coli outbreak

Prosecutors searched a Buitoni frozen pizza factory in northern France, the suspected source of an E.coli outbreak that has left dozens of children sick, police said.

Employees arrive at the Buitoni factory in Caudry, northern France, which is the suspected source of an E.coli outbreak
(Photo: Francois Lo Presti / AFP)

An investigation into involuntary manslaughter and deceitful practices was opened on April 1st after authorities learned of more than 70 infections, which may have caused the deaths of a one-year-old and an 18-year-old.

The search at the Caudry factory operated by Buitoni, which is owned by the Swiss food conglomerate Nestle, was confirmed by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation.

Nestle announced a recall of the affected Fraiche-Up pizzas on March 18th, and authorities ordered a halt of their production at Caudry, in the Nord département, on April 6th after carrying out two hygiene inspections.

The inspections “revealed a deterioration of food hygiene controls”, the presence of “rodents” and insufficient measures to prevent pests from contaminating a food production site, authorities said in the shutdown order.

Escherichia coli bacteria can lead to severe and long-lasting health complications including acute kidney failure. French authorities say the reports of possible infections began to occur in late February.

Recalls were also ordered in Belgium and Luxembourg, with the affected pizzas distributed in 20 other countries including 15 in Africa, according to the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.

Buitoni has said it is cooperating with the investigation and promised to take “appropriate measures” in the wake of the outbreak.

The health scare comes after nine European countries reported a total of 150 salmonella cases thought to be linked to a Kinder chocolate factory in Belgium that has since been closed.

“Most cases are children under 10 years of age, with many being hospitalised,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety Authority said in a statement Tuesday.

Kinder’s owner, the Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, has apologised for the outbreak at the height of the Easter holiday season.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

With tourism opening up and travel rules relaxed more and more people are visiting France - but what if you test positive for Covid while you are here?

Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

Although France has relaxed many of its Covid-related rules, self-isolation remains compulsory for people who have tested positive for the virus.

Testing

If you develop Covid symptoms, or you have been in close contact with someone who has Covid, you should take a test.

As soon as symptoms appear (fever or feeling of fever, cough, headache, sore throat, aches and pains, unusual fatigue, diarrhea…), you must:

  • perform an antigen test immediately (if positive, perform a confirmatory PCR test) or RT-PCR, regardless of your vaccination status, history of infection, or risk contact status;
  • Isolate yourself and reduce your contacts;
  • Prepare a list of people you have been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms;

Home-tests can be bought from pharmacies for a maximum price of €6 (most are cheaper than that) or you can go to most pharmacies on a walk-in basis and ask for an antigen test (test antigenique).

If you have symptoms you should take an antigen or PCR test, not a home test.

If you’re not a resident in France you will have to pay for the test, with prices capped at €22 for an antigen test or €54 for a PCR test.

For full details on testing types and how to book, click HERE.

READ ALSO The French vocab you need to get a Covid test

Waiting

While you are waiting for a test appointment, or waiting for the results of a test, you should self-isolate.

Positive

If your test is positive, you must self-isolate, although the length of your isolation depends on whether you are vaccinated or not.

Those who are considered fully vaccinated (a vaccination with a booster or a primary vaccination completed less than 4 months ago), and children under 12 who test positive should:

  • self-isolate for 7 days after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of collection of the positive test;
  • perform an antigen test or PCR test on day five:
  • if the day five test is negative and there have been no symptoms for 48 hours, isolation can be terminated;
  • if that test is positive or if no day five test is performed, isolation must be continued until day seven, without a new test to be performed at the end of the isolation period.

Anyone who is not vaccinated or who has an incomplete vaccination schedule (booster not completed within the time frame required for the health pass) should:

  • isolate for to 10 days after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of the positive test;
  • perform an antigen or PCR test on day seven after the date of onset of symptoms or the date of collection of the positive test:
  • if the day seven test is negative and there have been no symptoms for 48 hours, isolation can be terminated;
  • if it is positive or if no test is performed, the isolation must be continued until day 10 without any new test.

Note: It is recommended to respect the barrier measures (wearing a mask and hygiene measures) for the seven days after isolation ends following a confirmed positive test. 

Self-isolation

While self-isolating you should stay at home. If you have a garden you can go outside, but you should not leave your property and should avoid contact with people outside your household.

If you are staying in a hotel you should stay in your room, avoid communal areas and tell staff that you have tested positive so they can avoid close contact with you.

Contacts

If you have the French TousAntiCovid app, you can upload your positive certificate and you will be sent a link where you can fill in the details of anyone you have been in contact with before testing positive.

If you don’t have the app, Assurance Maladie now offers an online tool: Lister mes cas contacts that does the same thing.

Medical help

If at any point while you are positive you have difficulty breathing, you should call an ambulance on 15 (114 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) or the European emergency number on 112. 

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