700 Airbus Atlantic Employees Suffer Severe Bout of Gastroenteritis After Christmas Dinner; Annual Event Goes Wrong

Cause of mass poisoning not identified yet

In a festive celebration gone awry, a gourmet Christmas dinner for 2,600 employees at the French aerospace giant Airbus Atlantic has left hundreds of workers suffering from a severe bout of gastroenteritis. Health authorities are currently conducting an investigation to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak that affected around 700 reported individuals.

Airbus Atlantic

The incident unfolded at the company's own restaurant, located in Montoir-de-Bretagne, within the picturesque Loire-Atlantique region of western France. The holiday menu, featuring delicacies such as foie gras, scallops, lobster, tournedos, and indulgent desserts like ice-cream logs and hazelnut and chocolate mousse, was priced at a reasonable €15 (£13) per person.

According to health officials, the affected workers displayed "clinical signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea" following the festive feast on December 14. The majority reported falling ill within a 24 to 48-hour window after the meal. Authorities have not yet identified the cause of this mass poisoning and are exploring the possibility of a food-borne bacterium or an exceptionally contagious gastroenteritis virus.

A spokesperson for the health authorities stated, "Investigations are ongoing," emphasizing that results are expected to be available next week. A comprehensive questionnaire has been distributed to all attendees of the Christmas dinner.

One affected employee, identified only as Nolwenn, shared her harrowing experience with the Ouest-France newspaper, saying, "I had colic and headaches like I'd never had before. It was worse than giving birth."

Jean-Claude Iribarren, the secretary of the Airbus Atlantic works committee, clarified that the food for the event was prepared by the company's canteen, adding, "As we do every year, we organized a Christmas dinner for 2,600 people with a lot of local suppliers."

Despite the alarming situation, Iribarren cautioned against premature conclusions, stating, "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."

A spokesperson for Airbus assured the public that no one had been "seriously ill" and informed that the case is now under the jurisdiction of health authorities, who are leading the investigation. Airbus Atlantic, a subsidiary of the world's largest aircraft maker, Airbus, employs 15,000 people across five countries.