Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has issued an order for the withdrawal of sales of Lanark White ewe milk cheese batch G14 following a recent E.coli outbreak which took the life of a three-year-old girl hailing Dunbartonshire.
The Lanark White ewe milk cheese manufacturer happens to be Errington Cheese based in South Lanarkshire.
On Saturday, Food Standards Scotland released a statement saying: “A sample from a batch of Lanark White submitted for testing by South Lanarkshire Council has tested positive for E. coli O157.
“Although this organism may not carry shiga toxins, it is associated with human disease in the UK, so this cheese is a potential risk to health.
“FSS has issued a FAFA [Food Alert for Action] calling for this product to be immediately recalled from sale.”
The cheese manufacturer Errington Cheese though is claiming that it is conducting its own tests to investigate if any of its cheese was having strains of E.coli.
About 20 cases of E.coli O157 were confirmed by the health authorities with all of them been identified in July including the three-year-old girl who unfortunately died of the bug.
It is reported that 11 of the 20 cases had to be treated in hospital.
Previously, health experts had linked Dunsyre Blue cheese with the E.coli bacteria although there is no concrete evidence of that. Also manufactured by Errington Cheese, batches of the Dunsyre Blue cheese were recalled by the company following orders from Food Standards Scotland.
It is learnt that this time though Errington Cheese had refused to issue its own voluntary recall of the Lanark White ewe milk cheese which has forced the FSS to take action on it.
Errington Cheese on the other hand claims that the cheese in question has been there in the market for three weeks and did not have links to any reported cases of E.coli illness.
Errington Cheese also released a statement which says: “When we were told of the presumptive E. coli 0157 result we immediately consulted experts in dairy microbiology.
“The experts told us they were confused and concerned by the testing methodology adopted by the laboratory.
“We have given careful consideration to this and to the fact that the cheese has been on the market for three weeks now with absolutely no reported incidence of illness.
“We have arranged for the sample of the same cheese tested by the authorities to be tested and the results will be ready on Monday when we will review the situation.”
For the record, recently Errington Cheese had to recall three batches of its Dunsyre Blue cheese which were linked to the E.coli outbreak as they were alleged to contain the harmful shiga toxins.
Dunsyre Blue cheese from Errington Cheese was identified by Health Protection Scotland as the most likely cause of the E.coli outbreak.
The manufacturer Errington Cheese continues to argue its case saying that there was no conclusive evidence to link its products including Dunsyre Blue cheese to be the cause of the E.coli outbreak.
The cheese company also claimed in a statement recently saying that its testing had shown the Dunsyre Blue cheese to be completely clear of E.coli O157 strains.
E.coli is a bacterial intestinal infection which can be fatal as it can result in possible kidney damage, paralysis, blindness and can even cause death.
E.coli symptoms include abdominal cramps along with possible bloody diarrhea and anaemia. Some people affected with E.coli also get fever and vomitings.
The E.coli O157 infection can be contracted after consuming food or water contaminated with the feces from infected animals including humans, cows and buffaloes.
People with weakened immune systems, young children, pregnant women and older adults are considered to be susceptible to the E.coli infection.