Child dies in E. coli O157 outbreak in Scotland

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Eraxion
©iStock/Eraxion

Related tags: Escherichia coli, Cheese, Milk, Errington cheese

A child has died after an E. coli O157 outbreak in Scotland, according to Health Protection Scotland (HPS).

The multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) said there had been 20 confirmed cases and 11 were known to have received hospital care at some point during their illness.

The IMT included Food Standards Scotland (FSS), NHS boards and local authority environmental health teams.

The last date of illnesses was at the end of July so the IMT will start producing its final report which could take six months.

However, Food Standards Scotland and South Lanarkshire Council will continue to work with Errington Cheese ensuring all appropriate controls are in place to protect the safety of consumers.

Dunsyre Blue cheese most likely cause

Epidemiological investigations identified Dunsyre Blue cheese as the most likely cause of the outbreak. HPS said no other link to a majority of cases could be established.

dunsyre blue errington cheese
Recalled Dunsyre Blue cheese

Errington Cheese recalled Batch Numbers: C22 & D14 of Dunsyre Blue cheese due to possible E. coli O157 (VTEC) at the end of July.

It was sold mainly to hotels, restaurants and delicatessens, with no distribution to supermarkets.

FSS would not tell us if any Dunsyre Blue cheese tested positive for the outbreak strain or how many cases said they ate it enabling them to make the link.

FQN has contacted FSS and Errington Cheese and will update this article with any response.

Last month Errington Cheese said all testing, covering almost six months from 21 March was clear of E. coli O157 and all authority, customer and farm testing was negative.

It added at least six samples were taken from the implicated batch D14 and all tested negative.

“We don’t know why IMT concluded that cheese batches C22 and D14 were responsible for illness as the wholesalers who supplied all the restaurants did not keep a record of which batches went to which customer; any of 10 batches might have been supplied to these restaurants,”​ said the company in a statement on its website.

Errington Cheese said it had seen a chart which related to nine (of the then 19) cases and not all had eaten blue cheese.

“Only three pieces, or 4.5kg of the implicated batches were returned, i.e. the rest had been consumed. These pieces tested negative for E. coli O157. Had it been the cheese, illness would have been widespread,” ​it added.

“People are worried about eating raw milk cheese and blue cheese and have not been purchasing. Health Protection Scotland is wrecking the reputation of dairy products in the whole country by making them appear unsafe.”​ 

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Cheese

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1 comment

They are unsafe

Posted by Richard,

There is a reason that raw milk cheese gets blamed, because it is unsafe. Historically raw milk consumption (as fluid milk or otherwise) has been linked to outbreaks of everything from TB to E.coli. Milk is a great nutritious fluid, bacteria love it at least as much as we do.

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