An investigation has been opened for manslaughter. A 32-year-old woman died last week after contracting botulism in Bordeaux, while she was eating sardines in a Bordeaux bar. In addition, fifteen cases were detected in France, all linked to the same establishment.
The Tchin Tchin wine bar was closed and the Gironde prefecture prohibited the manager “until further notice” from making new products. The latter risks receiving up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, according to the Penal Code.
In an interview granted to Southwest, the establishment owner’s lawyer explains that his client is “defeated.” “His priority is to ensure that there are no more patients, that those who are hospitalized return to their previous lives and of course he thinks about this family that lost a loved one,” he adds.
“He collaborated without reservation”
The investigation was entrusted jointly to the judicial police of Gironde, the Central Office to combat attacks on the environment and public health (OCLAESP) and the Departmental Directorate for Population Protection (DDPP).
“He collaborated without reservation,” assures Stéphane Guitard, “he spent his days with the DDPP to find people who stopped by his house to taste the wine.”
“He is physically exhausted but he will assume responsibility and is available to investigators,” the lawyer says. Southwest.
A sterilization problem
A first inspection carried out by the DDPP concluded that there was a “manufacturing defect” in these homemade canned sardines. However, Stéphane Guitard explains that the Bordeaux restorer “followed the manufacturer’s recommendations.”
“He took out the bill for his pressure cooker that cooks between 30 and 100°C. He followed the manufacturer’s recommendations which were to cook for one hour.” According to him, the jar and rubber bands were new and everything in the bar was clean.
“At this point I think it is too early to talk about a scientific demonstration of non-compliance with hygiene standards.”
The DDPP considered that the professional had “a very artisanal and uncontrolled method of action.”
Not “aware of a risk”
In addition, the restaurateur confirmed that when opening the jars, there was a bad smell and a lack of sterilization in certain cans. “When he spoke to the press on Monday night, he was distraught,” the lawyer explains.
He adds that the owner of Tchin Tchin Wine Bar “discarded two or three jars from the market” but served “those that seemed appropriate.” “He wasn’t aware of the risk at the time,” he explains.
“Their main activity is the sale of wine,” explains Stéphane Guitard.
In the case of “clearly deliberate violation of a certain obligation of precaution or safety”, the penalty could rise to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.
In total, eleven people were hospitalized, eight of them in France, due to botulism, this rare neurological disease that can cause, in its most severe forms, paralysis of muscles, particularly respiratory muscles, and then lead to death.
Source: BFM TV