Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has banned the sale of cheese produced by Errington Cheese after it was linked to an outbreak of E. coli.
A multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) was employed to investigate the outbreak of E. coli throughout Scotland. The disease has been linked to Dunsyre Blue cheese, made using unpasteurised milk by the Lanarkshire company Errington Cheese.
The IMT found that out of 22 confirmed cases of E. coli, 19 had eaten the blue cheese before being taken ill. Of these cases, 13 were hospitalised.
On 5 September, the IMT issued a statement regarding the death of a three-year-old girl who died after contracting E. coli.
Chair of the IMT Dr Alison Smith-Palmer said: "On behalf of the IMT, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the child who has died. Our thoughts are with them at this time and we ask that their privacy be respected."
A spokesperson for Errington Cheese said it had carried out tests on all the cheeses and found no traces of E. coli: "We have used Micro testing laboratories in the UK and Europe and found no trace of pathogens, we have shown results of all our testing and all Local Authority testing to date to various microbiological experts, which has enabled us to come to this decision," they added.
Food Standards Scotland and South Lanarkshire Councils are continuing to investigate Errington Cheese after a further two cases of E. coli were confirmed today.
Smith-Palmer added: "As part of the investigations carried out by South Lanarkshire Council and Food Standards Scotland on behalf of the IMT, a large number of cheese samples have been taken as well as other investigations conducted. These have identified a number of different cheeses produced by Errington Cheese containing organisms with the potential to cause serious illness, including O157 E. coli and toxin producing non-O157 E. coli.
"Based on these findings, Food Standards Scotland has issued a food safety alert to withdraw all cheeses produced by the company. Food Standards Scotland is advising all consumers who have purchased any cheeses produced by Errington Cheese not to consume them, and to return the products to where they purchased them."
The multi-agency IMT includes Food Standards Scotland, NHS boards and local authority environmental health teams and is chaired by Health Protection Scotland.
Errington Cheese is available for sale through a number of specialist cheese suppliers including La Fromagerie, Paxton and Whitfield, Wellocks and Neal's Yard Dairy.