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Food Standards Scotland Comes Under Fire Over E. Coli Outbreak

September 14, 2016

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has come under criticism from Professor Sir Hugh Pennington after it confirmed there were no samples or test evidence linking a Lanarkshire based cheese produced with an outbreak of E. coli that led to the death of a three-year-old girl.

Professor Pennington was the chair of the Pennington Group enquiry into an outbreak of E. coli in Scotland in 1996 and he was also Chairman of the Public Health enquiry in the E. coli outbreak in South Wales in 2005.

Professor Pennington told the Guardian; “The whole thing is a mess in terms of the public information coming out. From my point of view, I just don’t understand what’s going on. The sooner we see all the data which has been collated which allows the FSS to point the finger, the better it will be for everybody.”

The first alert issued by the agency came in July after a link was made between two batches of Dunsrye Blue Cheese and an outbreak which affected 20 people. The manufacturers Errington Cheese, withdrew the products from sale despite insisting that repeated testing had failed to find any traces of E. coli.

After it was revealed that 11 people had been hospitalised and a three-year-old girl had died, FSS told the Scottish Sunday Herald it had no direct proof the cheeses it had named were responsible. The Agency did however say that tests had led to E. coli being isolated from samples of Lanark White, also manufactured by Errington’s and subsequently removed from sale.

A statement from FSS on Monday said; “As there is an ongoing food safety investigation, we will publish more information when this is necessary to protect public health and provide information to consumers.”