Errington Cheese continues product safety battle

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags E. coli Cheese Escherichia coli

Corra Linn. Picture: Errington Cheese
Corra Linn. Picture: Errington Cheese
Errington Cheese is set for another procedural hearing in the battle to prove its product is safe to eat.

The firm said the case is estimated to take 32 days of court time. The next procedural hearing is on 8 August.

It added product seizures were over several months from February to April instead of in September 2016 after an alert from Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

“It seems crazy that when, at EU level, agreement on the science of E. coli cannot be reached, it is expected that the Sheriff at Lanark should be able to make judgements on E. coli pathogenicity at our expense,” ​said Errington Cheese.

“Our belief that it is nutritious and safe is supported by the distinguished expert microbiologists and epidemiologists on whose advice we have consistently relied since last September.”

An E. coli O157 outbreak in Scotland last year was linked to Dunsyre Blue – a cheese made by the company.

The outbreak sickened 26 and hospitalised 17 people with two cases developing hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and the death of a three year old child.

It was established 15 people ate Dunsyre Blue and 19 of 22 confirmed cases consumed blue cheese before illness onset.

The court action concerns all cheese made in 2016 and a small amount of Corra Linn produced in 2015 with a value of £350,000 in September last year.

The firm has been making and selling its ewes’ milk cheese (Lanark Blue) since February and called for the legality for anything which does not undergo heat treatment to be clarified.

However, Errington Cheese said the testing it is required to do would not produce a fail based on how last year’s cheese was condemned because Whole Genome Sequencing and STEC testing is not available in any commercial food testing laboratory in the UK.

The firm added it is sending cheese and milk to France for STEC testing but not every batch as under the French system none of the 2015/16 cheese which they tested would have failed and it would have been released into the market in France and the UK.

Related topics Regulation & Safety Cheese

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