Glasgow & West Scotland

New warning over cheese brand linked to E.coli outbreak

Cheese being seized
Image caption Cheese was seized from Errington in Carnwath, Lanarkshire

Scotland's food safety watchdog has warned consumers not to eat a variety of Errington brand cheese which has returned to the shelves.

Food Standards Scotland said South Lanarkshire Council's decision to allow the sale of the Corra Linn cheese was "premature."

The firm's Dunsyre Blue variety was linked to an E.coli outbreak last July in which a three-year-old girl died.

The company disputes that its products were responsible.

A total of 11 people received treatment in hospital during the outbreak in the summer of 2016.

In September, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) imposed a ban on all cheese produced by Errington. People were advised not to eat the cheese and to return it to the seller.

Last month, the Carnwath-based cheese producer won the latest round of a court battle against the sales ban.

The interim order was designed to force the council to either abandon the case against them or initiate new proceedings under food hygiene regulations.

Image copyright FSS
Image caption Health officials have already investigated possible links to Dunsyre blue cheese

Earlier this month, a batch of cheese was been seized by officers from South Lanarkshire Council.

In a statement release this weekend, FSS said: "Errington Cheese Ltd has now, following several requests from Food Standards Scotland, supplied the results of its own laboratory testing, which have raised further concerns and support Food Standards Scotland's position that the cheeses have not been produced safely.

"Food Standards Scotland has also had sight of analysis undertaken by South Lanarkshire Council on Corra Linn. This analysis is incomplete. It does not provide sufficient evidence that the cheese was produced safely and preliminary testing on other batches of Corra Linn has identified markers which signify potential contamination that could be harmful to health.

"Food Standards Scotland understands that South Lanarkshire Council has decided not to detain these cheeses and allowing them to be placed on the market was premature, as there is currently insufficient evidence to provide assurances to the public that these cheeses are safe."

'Fit to eat'

The cheese company's founder, Humphrey Errington, told BBC Scotland South Lanarkshire Council had given the firm the go-ahead to begin selling the Corra Linn brand again.

"All the evidence they have got, and the cheeses that have been tested by them, show that these particular batches are OK and are fit to eat," he said.

"But suddenly Food Standards Scotland have released this massive press release.

"It is hard to understand what is going on."

FSS said its priority remained "the protection of public health".

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