More than 700 Airbus Atlantic staff are reported to have fallen ill following the company’s Christmas dinner in France, according to Fox News. The festive event was organized and provided by the company’s restaurant at its Montoir-de-Bretagne site in the Loire-Atlantique region of western France, with 2,600 employees in attendance on December 14.
As reported by The Guardian, the elaborate gourmet spread included foie gras, scallops, lobster, and beef tenderloin, complemented by desserts like ice-cream logs and hazelnut-chocolate mousse – all for an affordable $16 per person. However, within 24 to 48 hours after the dinner, hundreds of people exhibited “clinical signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea.”
A spokesperson for the European aeronautics company informed CNN that the Airbus Atlantic employees “fell ill after contracting a food-borne illness following the company-organized Christmas lunch.”
France’s health agency, Agence Regionale de Santé (ARS), is currently conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the mass food poisoning that affected over 700 Airbus Atlantic employees. Health officials are exploring whether the illness resulted from a bacterium in the food or a highly contagious gastroenteritis virus.
“This appears to be an isolated event, and all employees are recovering well. The health of our employees remains our primary concern, and we are fully cooperating with the ARS health agency to identify the cause of the illness and ensure this cannot happen again in the future,” stated a company spokesperson. The spokesperson emphasized that no one had become “seriously ill.”
Nevertheless, an affected employee described her symptoms, saying, “I had colic and headaches like I’d never had before. It was worse than giving birth.” Another employee named Nolwenn echoed this sentiment in an interview with Ouest-France newspaper.
Jean-Claude Iribarren, the secretary of the Airbus Atlantic works committee, clarified that the food was prepared by the company’s canteen. “As we do every year, we organized a Christmas dinner for 2,600 people with a lot of local suppliers. People have been a little hasty about the causes. We are obliged to keep samples of every product served in the restaurant. They will be analyzed by the ARS [health authorities]. The investigation will take several more days.”