FSS issues new cheese warning due to E. coli O157

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lanark White cheese
Lanark White cheese

Related tags: E. coli, Escherichia coli, Errington cheese

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has ordered the withdrawal of a cheese produced by the same firm it linked to an earlier E. coli outbreak.

The agency said batch G14 of Lanark White produced by Errington Cheese, a white cheese made from unpasteurised sheep’s milk, may have been bought between 22 August and 10 September.

A sample from a batch of Lanark White tested by South Lanarkshire Council was positive for E. coli O157 but no illnesses have been reported.

Lanark White positive for E. coli

FSS said the firm was ‘unwilling’ to remove cheese from the market so it forced the recall given the potential severity and low doses required to cause illness.

However, Errington Cheese said when it was told of the presumptive E. coli O157 result it consulted experts in dairy microbiology.

“The experts told us they were confused and concerned by the testing methodology adopted by the laboratory. We have given careful consideration to this and to the fact that the cheese has been on the market for three weeks now with absolutely no reported incidence of illness.”

The firm sampled the same cheese tested by the authorities but did not reveal findings. It said testing has maintained confidence that cheese is safe to eat.

"We continue to be restricted in what we can sell or say because of the excercise of their statutory powers by the FSS and the Environmental Health Authority.

"We are pleased to see that FSS acknowledge that there is no microbiological link been found between Dunsyre Blue and the recent outbreak of illness."

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also issued a warning as the cheese was distributed in Scotland but people visiting may have bought it.

Cheese is supplied to wholesalers who supply to retail and catering establishments. It is provided to specialist cheese shops, delicatessens, hotels and restaurants.

Previous outbreak and recall

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) had earlier said​ an investigation into the E. coli outbreak which sickened 20 people and played a role in the death of a child had ended with a report due in six months.

Epidemiological investigations identified Dunsyre Blue cheese as the most likely cause but product testing was negative.

Errington Cheese recalled Dunsyre Blue from batch E24 because it may contain shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) last week.

Dunsyre Blue best before dates are between 18/9/2016 to 18/10/2016 and Dunsyre Baby dates between 21/9/2016 to 11/10/2016 purchased between 19 July and 8 September were affected.

FSS said it believed the precautionary recall is a responsible action by Errington Cheese that was in the best interests of consumers to protect them from potential risks to health.

The firm recalled Batch Numbers C22 and D14 of Dunsyre Blue cheese due to possible E. coli O157 (VTEC) at the end of July.

In August it said all testing, covering six months from March was clear of E. coli O157 and all authority, customer and farm testing was negative.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Cheese

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