Further blue cheese recall after fatal E.coli outbreak

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A further batch of Dunsyre Blue cheese is being recalled following an E.coli outbreak in which a child died.

Errington Cheese has issued what it calls a “precautionary” recall of a particular batch of the raw-milk cheese because it may contain E.coli 0157.

E.coli 0157 poisoning occurs after consuming food or drink that has been contaminated with faeces from infected animals or coming into contact with the animals. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, and haemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal.

Twenty people are known to have become ill after ingesting a strain of E.coli earlier this summer and a child has died as a result of the food poisoning.

Health Protection Scotland said epidemiological investigations identified Dunsyre Blue cheese as the most likely cause of the outbreak.

It said that despite extensive investigation, including looking for other possible food sources, no other link to a majority of cases could be established. However, the manufacturer of the cheese, Errington Cheeses in Lanarkshire, has disputed the claim, saying there was a “malicious prejudice against raw-milk cheese”.

Most people who had eaten the cheese had done so in restaurants, but the company carried out a voluntary recall of batches – bought between mid May and the end of July – which were thought to be linked to the problem.

It is understood that no-one else has fallen ill since the voluntary recall of the cheese on 29 July. The final ­outbreak report from the IMT may take up to six months.

Last month Humphrey Errington, owner of award-winning Errington Cheeses, said that the link between his cheese and the outbreak had caused one major customer to cancel their order.

Mr Errington told The Scotsman: “Health Protection Scotland’s claim that the 19 ill people had consumed Dunsyre Blue is untrue according to the data which they themselves have released; of the 19 ill people, seven may have eaten blue cheese (not necessarily Dunsyre Blue); some never ate any blue cheese.”

He added: “We can now say with absolute confidence that, following comprehensive tests and the examination of them by an independent expert microbiologist, there is no evidence whatever for any link to the recent outbreak of illness; the government agency tests have all also proved negative.”

Revealing details of the latest recalls, the Food Standards Agency said: 2This product is mainly supplied to hotels, restaurants, specialist cheese shops and delicatessens. If you have purchased this product with the batch number above or if you have purchased it from delicatessen and do not have batch information, do not eat it. Instead, return it to either Errington Cheese or the store from where it was purchased.”

The affected products are all packs of Dunsyre Blue Cheese and Dunsyre Baby Cheese bearing the batch number E24 and with best before dates between 18 September and 18 October 2016.