Officials Say Airbus Christmas Dinner Causes Food Poisoning in More Than 100 Employees – The Daily Beast

Authorities say scores of employees at a French aerospace company apparently suffered food poisoning after enjoying a lavish Christmas feast.

The dinner organized on December 14 for 2,600 Airbus Atlantic employees is now the focus of an investigation by French health authorities. The Agence Région de Santé told the BBC that up to 700 employees may have fallen ill in the hours that followed, although an Airbus spokesman insisted that no more than 100 people suffered vomiting and diarrhea.

“I had colic and headaches like never before,” an employee named Nolwenn told local newspaper Ouest-France. “It was worse than childbirth.”

No one was “seriously ill,” the spokesman said, adding that affected employees were able to return to work after dinner on Monday. Airbus is working with the health authority “to determine the cause of the disease and to ensure that something like this cannot happen again in the future,” the statement said.

According to The Guardian, investigators, who sent out questionnaires to everyone present at the event, are looking into the possibility that the poisoning was caused by foodborne pathogens or a contagious strain of stomach flu. A spokesperson told the outlet that investigators are expected to release conclusions as early as next week.

The event’s menu included dishes such as foie gras, scallops, lobster and beef tournedos, according to The Guardian. “Maybe it was the cheese, but we don’t know yet,” Frédérick David, a member of the company’s working committee, told Ouest-France.

According to Jean-Claude Iribarren, secretary of the working committee, most of the food came from local suppliers in western France and was prepared in the Airbus Atlantic canteen. “People were a little quick to clarify the causes,” he told Ouest-France, adding that health authorities were analyzing food samples preserved in the canteen.

Airbus Atlantic is a subsidiary of Airbus, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, and employs 15,000 people in five countries.