Leading Public Health Lawyers Say Thorough Investigation Needed After Scotland Cheese Ban

Food Standards Scotland has issued a ban on all cheese made by a South Lanarkshire-based producer following E-Coli outbreak


Hayley Court, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

Leading Public Health lawyers say a thorough investigation is needed following last night’s Food Standards Scotland’s cheese ban on Errington Cheese after E-Coli was found in a number of its products.

The Food Action Alert, which was issued by the FSS yesterday, said heads of Environmental Health Services should be aware that Errington Cheese Ltd have supplied unpasteurised milk cheese which may contain E. coli.

The Public Health team at Irwin Mitchell has represented thousands of clients who have suffered serious health issues as a result of illness outbreaks arising from bacterial infections including E.coli, salmonella and cryptosporidium, in the UK and abroad.

Expert Opinion
“E. Coli is a particularly serious illness that as well as causing uncomfortable symptoms, can cause vulnerable victims, such as children and older people, to develop further complications which blight them in the long term.

“We welcome the swift action taken by Food Standards Scotland and hope that a thorough investigation is carried out into how these products were produced, which could put the health and safety of consumers at risk.

“We have seen first-hand the consequences contaminated food products can have on those unfortunate enough to consume them. It is vital more is done to ensure every food product entering the market is suitable for consumption and the health of consumers is compromised.”
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner

Symptoms caused by E. coli include diarrhoea and bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and in particularly severe cases can cause kidney failure or even death

Errington Cheese Ltd, which has previously been linked to an E.coli outbreak in which a three-year-old girl died, has disputed the evidence and insists its cheese is safe.

A statement on the company’s website said today: “Further to FSS announcement last night that all our cheese should be withdrawn, I would like to re-confirm my position that all the testing we have carried out on our cheese to date has found no trace of Ecoli 0157.

“We have used Micro testing laboratories in the UK and Europe and found no trace of pathogens, we have shown results of all our testing and all Local Authority testing to date to various microbiological experts which has enabled us to come to this decision.

“I was not given an option from FSS last night who emailed me at 6.56pm asking for a response by 7.15pm impossible for me to seek advice and respond to something like this in 18 minutes.”

The FSS ban involves Dunsyre Baby, Dunsyre Blue, Lanark Blue, Lanark White, Maisie's Kebbuck and Cora Linn.

The FSS has advised consumers not to eat the cheese, and to return them to where they purchased them.

Errington Cheese Ltd has been previously linked an outbreak of E.coli in July this year, in which 20 people were infected, including the child who died.

The FSS said it was initiating the withdrawal because Errington Cheese Ltd had not voluntarily withdrawn the products.

The watchdog said: "Both O157 and non-O157 strains of E. coli have been detected in a number of different types of cheese produced by Errington Cheese Ltd.

"Given the potential severity of illness and the very low doses of this bacterium required to cause illness, FSS believes this action is in the best interests of consumers."