Bellardran Pastry Shop is a name known throughout France for its traditional Bordeaux pastries. She was recently honored with a visit from King Charles III. But behind the red facades of its stores in Bordeaux, hides a less rosy and even disgusting reality, according to the testimonies of several employees.
The issue broke out when Baillardran employees revealed to France 3 Nouvelle Aquitaine the deplorable hygiene conditions in the brand’s laboratories and stores. “Lucien” (a fictitious first name used by the investigation’s authors to protect his identity), a pastry chef from the company, shared a particularly disturbing anecdote: the discovery of rat droppings in a strainer, an essential tool in the preparation of… fluted. This testimony is not an isolated case. Other staff, supported by CGT Gironde, reported serious failures in relation to cleanliness, with photographic evidence supporting it.
One former pastry chef remembers the time when cannelle dough buckets were said to be “full of flies and maggots.” “Take off what you see on the surface and you’ll still be using the paste,” my manager told me.
-Romain Bizeul (@RomainBizeul) November 11, 2023
Cannelle dough, an essential ingredient in this pastry, will be transported and stored in inappropriate conditions. Employees reported that the paste was sometimes left out in the open, attracting flies and caterpillars. The company’s practices in storing and preparing entrees raise serious questions about food safety. In 2015, an incident actually drew attention to cleanliness in Belardran stores, when a rat was filmed chewing on a can of canelé in the window (see video below). Since then, despite measures taken to hide these problems from the public, employee testimonies indicate that hygiene problems persist. In addition, canned goods sold fresh are often frozen and re-frozen, a practice that is misleading to customers.
These discoveries come at a time when Belardran is enjoying undeniable commercial success, with sales reaching 11.9 million euros in 2022 and a notable presence during the visit of… King Charles III In Bordeaux. The Belardran family, which runs the company, appears to favor brand image and profit at the expense of cleanliness and product quality. The Directorate for Population Protection (DDPP) in Gironde conducted inspections following the allegations. However, the results did not reveal any major defect, noting that the inspection took place while the company’s headquarters was under construction and therefore partially empty. However, legal proceedings related to consumer law are said to be underway.
Finally, in addition to hygiene problems, Belardran’s working conditions are also the subject of criticism. Employees denounce problematic management practices, including increased pressure and surveillance, as well as problems of discrimination and racism.