According to the Guardian, a gourmet Christmas dinner for 2,600 workers at the French aerospace group Airbus Atlantic left 700 of the staff sick. 

The health authorities have launched an investigation to establish what caused the mass outbreak of gastroenteritis among a reported 700 employees. 

The festive feast was organized and provided by the company’s own restaurant at its site at Montoir-de-Bretagne in the Loire-Atlantique region of western France. Delicacies on the menu included foie gras, scallops, lobster and tournedos, followed by desserts of ice-cream logs and hazelnut and chocolate mousse.

The affected workers showed “clinical signs of vomiting and/or diarrhea” after the seasonal dinner on 14 December. Most fell ill within 24 to 48 hours after the meal.

Health officials said they had not yet identified the cause of the mass poisoning and are looking into whether it was caused by a bacterium in the food or an extremely contagious gastroenteritis virus.

A spokesperson for Airbus said nobody had been “seriously ill”. “The case is now being handled by the health authority, which is leading the investigation.”