The Herta company, prosecuted for manslaughter after the death in 2014 of little Lilian, who had choked on a piece of Knacki sausage, appears Monday January 25 before the Dax criminal court.
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Herta, whose president Arnaud de Belloy will be present at the hearing, is sued by Florence and Vincent Lerbey, for
"manslaughter by manifestly deliberate violation of an obligation of safety or prudence"
laid down by the Consumer Code .
They don't want such a drama to happen again.
Their 2 year and 11 month old son died on August 11, 2014 in a campsite in Messanges, on the Landes coast, where the Bordeaux family was staying in a mobile home.
That day, after returning from the beach with a couple of friends and their children, the mother prepares the meal for the little ones.
On the menu, green beans and Knacki sausages that she cuts into slices.
After a few bites, Lilian gets up, takes his throat in his hands, he chokes.
Florence Lerbey immediately alerted her husband and her friend, a nurse anesthetist.
She tries to remove the piece from the child's throat, make him cough, practices the Heimlich maneuver and pats him on the back, keeping him flat on his knees while mom calls 15. Daddy Also takes it by the feet, upside down.
It's cardiac arrest.
The piece of sausage ends up being removed by the nurse using special pliers when the firefighters arrive.
But neither they nor the Samu will manage to restart the child's heart.
If the parents of Lilian finally lodged a complaint against Herta,
"it is not for money but for there to be an awareness of consumers who ignore the dangerousness of this product"
, affirms to AFP Me Philippe Courtois, family lawyer.
"diameter of these sausages corresponds to the esophagus of the smallest and their spongy material can stick to the trachea"
, he adds.
At the time, only a
"recommendation for the youngest"
to cut into
"very small pieces"
was indicated on the packages.
Since 2015, at the request of the Lerbey family, a new mention with warning logo appears on the back of the packaging:
“For children under four years old, cut the sausage lengthwise then into very small pieces in order to to prevent the risk of suffocation ”
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In a recent
release, Herta specifies having then,
"in accordance with the wishes"
of the Lerbey, encouraged other manufacturers of fine sausage to use these terms, which they
Lilian's parents want this text to be put on the front of the packages for more visibility.
They would also like an advertising campaign to publicize this risk which has already been tragic for some other children.
In 2018, the Paris Court of Appeal in particular recognized Herta responsible for the handicap of a three-year-old girl who had been close to death with a "Knacki ball" six years earlier, and compensated the parents, considering that the packaging did not sufficiently warn of the potential danger.