Brucella Free Villages: India says raw (milk) is risky

Neetu Chandra Sharma of DNA India reports the government has geared up following new outbreaks down South India. In a bid to curb cases of Brucellosis, a bacterial disease affecting cattle like cow and buffalo and causing undulant fever in humans, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology has come up with a pilot project called “Brucella Free Villages”.

brucellosis-cattle-indiaBrucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella. Brucellosis is also an important zoonotic disease of worldwide importance; people acquire the infection by consuming unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, and by coming in contact with the contaminated animal secretions and tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis is transmitted to humans from animals through direct contact with infected materials like afterbirth or indirectly by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation of airborne agents. Consumption of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk is the major source of infection in humans.

In humans, brucellosis can cause range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headache, back pain and physical weakness. Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur.

Doctors say that often brucellosis is diagnosed after ruling out all other fevers such as those caused by malaria, typhoid, dengue etc. Therefore, the disease is under reported and many medical professionals are not even aware of the problem. It is estimated that the disease causes economic losses of about Rs 28,000 crores.

“There is an urgent need for addressing this important issue of not only livestock health and production, but also public health. India is the world’s largest milk producer and hosts around 20 per cent of the world’s livestock population,” said Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Raw (milk) is risky: Scotch and a smoke for your 5-year-old?

In April 1986, three classes of kindergarten and pre-K schoolchildren visited a dairy farm near Sarnia, Ontario (that’s in Canada, although it feels like grungy U.S.).

colbert-raw_-milk_1As recounted by David Waltner-Toews in his 1992 book, Food, Sex and Salmonella, “It was a typical Ontario farm, with 67 cows and calves, some chickens, some pigs, all well-cared for an clean, and seemed the perfect place to take a class of preschoolers. In April of 1986, 62 pre-school children and 12 supervising adults visited this farm. They played in the barn, petted the calves, pulled at the cows’ teats, and gathered a few eggs. For a break, they drank milk (right from the farmer’s tank!) and ate egg cookies (sliced hard-boiled eggs cleverly renamed to induce children to eat them). A good time was had by all.

“Within the next two weeks, 42 children and four adults came down with abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Three of the children ended up in the hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome. One of the children fell into a coma. All eventually recovered. The bacterium blamed for these misfortunes called verotoxin-producing E. coli, or VTEC.

“Public health investigators looked everywhere on the farm. Although they found only two calves carrying the organism, they decided that exposure to the unpasteurized milk was the most plausible explanation for what they saw. And yet the farm family, which drank that milk every day, was apparently healthy and not shedding VTEC.”

The public health version states that “after extensive sampling at the farm the only samples that were positive for E. coil O157:H7 were stool samples taken from two calves at the dairy farm. Agriculture Canada veterinarians collected the animal stool samples and also checked the herd for Brucellosis.

“To control the spread of the E. coil the three classes were closed at the school for about three, weeks. All the affected children and their families were restricted in their contact with the community until the affected family member(s) has three successive negative stool samples. These restrictions imposed by the Lambton Health Unit quickly controlled the spread of the E. coll. Thus by mid-June all families were negative for E, coli and by mid-July the three children with HUS had returned home from the hospital.”

This outbreak was noteworthy in that dairy farms in Ontario stopped serving raw milk to visiting school children.

As one of my many dairy farmer friends have told me, when the schools visit, we go to town and buy some (pasteurized) milk.

Thirty years later and the same nonsense is still being debated, in Tasmania (that’s in Australia).

Rhiana Whitson of ABC News reported earlier this month a Tasmanian farmer who demonstrates milking cows to children, giving them a “squirt” from the udder, has fallen foul of health authorities who have warned he is at risk of losing his business if he does not stop.

huon-valley-caravan-park-aRowen Carter (left, exactly as shown) runs the Huon Valley Caravan Park, south of Hobart, which he said is “more than just a caravan park, we are a self-sufficient working farm that wants to teach people where real food comes from.”

Maybe Rowen should teach microbiology and Louis Pasteur.

Carter offers paying guests homemade Persian fetta made with raw milk, as well as a taste of raw cow’s milk straight from the udder’s teat.

“I squirt it in their mouth and then afterwards I appear with some plastic cups and show them the more couth way of tasting the fresh milk … everybody is amazed at how sweet and how nice it is,” Mr Carter said.

But his attempt to provide guests with an “old-fashioned farm experience” has landed him in trouble with the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority (TDIA).

Mr Carter denied selling raw milk and insisted his guests freely choose to sample it.

“It’s been taken away from us, the right to choose,” he said.

“I think people should be allowed to taste it … they don’t have to taste it, it’s their choice and it’s their choice to let their children have a taste.”

The sale of unpasteurised milk products for human consumption is illegal in Australia, however the use of raw milk in various products has continued with some arguing the risks have been overstated.

smoke-pancake-austinHealth authorities and experts have warned raw milk poses a health risk, especially to children. A boy died in 2014 after drinking raw milk, marketed as bath milk, labelled as being for “cosmetic use only”.

Mr Carter said the tasting of the milk straight from the cow was a “highlight of the day” for guests.

“There is always the question ‘can we do the milk squirting again tomorrow?’

“Now we have to tell them because it is deemed we are selling the milk, squirting is now no longer.

“How can something that brings so much joy be so wrong?”

Search raw milk on barfblog.com and find out how wrong it can be.

In a facebook post, Carter wrote, “I can legally allow you to sit at my dining room table and offer you a can of coke and a cigarette but I am unable to offer you a glass of fresh (raw) milk and a scone with clotted cream according to Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority acting chairman Mark Sayer.”

Raw milk and other weird parental dietary preferences disproportionally affect the kids.

It’s always the kids.

Mr. Carter, drink all the raw milk you like, I don’t care, I provide information.

But as parents, we generally don’t have a scotch and a smoke with 5-year-olds.

And stop with the squirting references, especially around kids: it’s  just weird.

It’s still 1978 here in Australia; or 1803 in Tasmania.

Barf’s up: South Bank Surf Club faces 32 charges after 28 sickened with raw egg aioli

On Sept. 23, 2015, Brisbane’s South Bank Surf Club allegedly made up a large batch of raw-egg-based aioli sauce and served it for seven days.

garlic_aioliAt least 28 diners were sickened.

At the time, the manager of the club said the cause was “a bad batch of eggs’’ provided by a supplier. They said the eggs had been used in sauces served with seafood platters.

“We’ve been caught out, unfortunately. Our customers’ wellbeing is our priority and anyone with concerns can get in touch with us,” they said. “To rectify the problem, we are not making sauces in-house.’’

This is a common refrain in Australia.

We, the chefs, would never put the health of our customers in harm’s way, yet they continue to do so with the line, we got a bad batch of eggs.

south-bank-surf-club-1_lrgNow, Brisbane City Council health inspectors have filed a complaint in Brisbane Magistrates Court accusing the club, owned by Brisbane hospitality king Bevan Bickle, of letting the aioli and other sauces sit kitchen benches for up to three hours without refrigeration on the day they were used in meals including fish and chips, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches between September 23 and October 1 last year.

Court documents state aioli is a “potentially hazardous food” because “pathogenic microorganisms” can grow due to the raw egg and it needs to be refrigerated.

The club faces 32 charges of breaching food safety laws.

When inspector Heath Vogler visited the restaurant on October 16 he alleges the aioli was kept at 11C.

The council summons filed in court states aioli must be stored below 5C to minimise the growth of poisonous bacteria.

The case returns to court on December 23. The restaurant has not entered a plea.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-10-9-15.xlsx

Raw sprouts and sausage: There’s some hot STECs out there

In 2011, one of the world’s largest outbreaks of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) occurred, caused by a rare Escherichia coli serotype, O104:H4, that shared the virulence profiles of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)/enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC).

sprout-santa_-barf_-xmas__0-featuredThe persistence and fitness factors of the highly virulent EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain, grown either in food or in vitro, were compared with those of E. coli O157 outbreak-associated strains.

The log reduction rates of the different EHEC strains during the maturation of fermented sausages were not significantly different. Both the O157:NM and O104:H4 serotypes could be shown by qualitative enrichment to be present after 60 days of sausage storage. Moreover, the EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain appeared to be more viable than E. coli O157:H7 under conditions of decreased pH and in the presence of sodium nitrite. Analysis of specific EHEC strains in experiments with an EHEC inoculation cocktail showed a dominance of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4, which could be isolated from fermented sausages for 60 days. Inhibitory activities of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 toward several E. coli strains, including serotype O157 strains, could be determined. Our study suggests that EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 is well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions occurring in fermented raw sausages. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that STEC strain cocktails composed of several serotypes, instead of E. coli O157:H7 alone, be used in food risk assessments.

The enhanced persistence of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 as a result of its robustness, as well as the production of bacteriocins, may account for its extraordinary virulence potential.

sproutssprouts-batzIMPORTANCE In 2011, a severe outbreak caused by an EHEC/EAEC serovar O104:H4 strain led to many HUS sequelae. In this study, the persistence of the O104:H4 strain was compared with those of other outbreak-relevant STEC strains under conditions of fermented raw sausage production. Both O157:NM and O104:H4 strains could survive longer during the production of fermented sausages than E. coli O157:H7 strains. E. coli O104:H4 was also shown to be well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions encountered in fermented sausages, and the secretion of a bacteriocin may explain the competitive advantage of this strain in an EHEC strain cocktail.

Consequently, this study strongly suggests that enhanced survival and persistence, and the presumptive production of a bacteriocin, may explain the increased virulence of the O104:H4 outbreak strain. Furthermore, this strain appears to be capable of surviving in a meat product, suggesting that meat should not be excluded as a source of potential E. coli O104:H4 infection.

Fitness of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC)/Enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 in comparison to that of EHEC O157: Survival studies in food and in vitro

Applied and Environmental Microbiology; November 2016 vol. 82 no. 21 6326-6334

Christina Böhnlein, Jan Kabisch, Diana Meske, Charles M. A. P. Franz and Rohtraud Pichner

http://aem.asm.org/content/82/21/6326.abstract?etoc

36 sickened: Sprouts are a known cause of foodborne illness

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Abony infections.

amy-sprouts-guelph-05Thirty-six people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Reading or Salmonella Abony were reported from nine states.

Seven ill people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado were the likely source of this outbreak.

On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, sprouts are known to cause foodborne illness and outbreaks

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may have been part of this outbreak. PulseNet, coordinated by CDC, is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. PulseNet performs DNA fingerprinting on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks.

Thirty-six people infected with the outbreak strains were reported from nine states. Of those ill people, 30 were infected with Salmonella Reading, 1 was infected with Salmonella Abony, and 5 were infected with both.  A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 21, 2016 to September 10, 2016. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Fifty-six percent of ill people were female. Seven ill people reported being hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, sprouts are known to cause foodborne illness and outbreaks.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 31 ill people who were interviewed, 18 (58%) reported eating or possibly eating alfalfa sprouts in the week before illness started. This proportion is significantly higher than results from a 2006 survey of healthy people, in which 3% reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts on a sandwich in the week before they were interviewed. Ill people in the current outbreak reported eating raw sprouts on sandwiches from several restaurants.

sprout-salad-aust-aug-15Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from five restaurants where ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations.

On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled its alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination. These products were sold in boxes labeled “5-lb Living Alfalfa.” Read the Advice to Restaurants, Retailers and Consumers.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, sprouts are known to cause foodborne illness and outbreaks. More information about steps to reduce your risk of getting sick from eating sprouts is available on the Advice to Restaurants, Retailers and Consumers page.

At A Glance

Case Count: 36

States: 9

Deaths: 0

Hospitalizations: 7

A table of sprout-related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-2-23-16.xlsx

20 sick with campy linked to raw milk in Colorado

Jakob Rodgers of The Gazette reports that up to 20 people have been sickened from raw milk supplied by a ranch in Pueblo County, leading health officials to warn against drinking unpasteurized milk from the farm.

santa-barf_sprout_raw_milk7The outbreak of campylobacteriosis – an infection causing nausea and diarrhea – stems from raw milk distributed by Larga Vista Ranch, which is about 20 miles east of Pueblo, according to El Paso and Pueblo county health officials.

The infections highlight the dangers of drinking raw, unpasteurized milk, said Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods, El Paso County Public Health’s medical director.

“Sometimes people think that raw foods of all kinds are healthier,” she said. “But in this case, raw milk is very dangerous to be drinking.”

Since Aug. 1, health officials have confirmed 12 such cases and eight probable cases, according to the El Paso and Pueblo county health departments. Of those 20 people, half live in El Paso County, and half live in Pueblo County.

The infections stem from milk supplied by a herdshare program, which allows people to purchase stakes in livestock, such as cows or goats, and to receive a portion of each animal’s milk or meat.

Some of the people sickened were not part of the herdshare program. They received the milk from people who were part of it, which is now allowed, health officials said.

An after-hours call to the ranch by The Gazette was not returned.

Campy in Canada: Pets and raw milk underestimated

To inform source attribution efforts, a comparative exposure assessment was developed to estimate the relative exposure to Campylobacter, the leading bacterial gastrointestinal disease in Canada, for 13 different transmission routes within Ontario, Canada, during the summer.

sadie-dog-powellExposure was quantified with stochastic models at the population level, which incorporated measures of frequency, quantity ingested, prevalence, and concentration, using data from FoodNet Canada surveillance, the peer-reviewed and gray literature, other Ontario data, and data that were specifically collected for this study. Models were run with @Risk software using Monte Carlo simulations.

The mean number of cells of Campylobacter ingested per Ontarian per day during the summer, ranked from highest to lowest is as follows: household pets, chicken, living on a farm, raw milk, visiting a farm, recreational water, beef, drinking water, pork, vegetables, seafood, petting zoos, and fruits.

The study results identify knowledge gaps for some transmission routes, and indicate that some transmission routes for Campylobacter are underestimated in the current literature, such as household pets and raw milk. Many data gaps were identified for future data collection consideration, especially for the concentration of Campylobacter in all transmission routes.

A comparative exposure assessment of Campylobacter in Ontario, Canada

Risk Analysis, 18 Sept 2016, DOI: 10.1111/risa.126553

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risa.12653/abstract

6 confirmed sick: Crypto linked to raw milk in New Mexico

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health are investigating cases of cryptosporidiosis among state residents.

napoleon-raw-milkThey say there have been six confirmed cases of “crypto” — a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites — since Aug. 31.

Each reported consuming raw milk products.

The affected individuals are from Bernalillo County.

Epidemiologists, laboratory staff and inspectors are working to confirm the source of the outbreak.

The state Department of Agriculture and New Mexico Environmental Department also are involved in the investigation.

Health Department officials recommend that anyone in New Mexico who has raw milk products discard the product to prevent infection.

Unpasteurized cheese making record number sick in Texas

Claire Z. Cardona of The Dallas Morning News reports a record number of people in Dallas County have been sickened from an infection caused by consuming unpasteurized cheese, health officials said. 

brucellosisThere have been 13 brucellosis infections in residents so far this year, affecting patients between 6 and 80 years old, according to a health advisory released Thursday

All of the patients reported eating the cheese brought into the U.S. from Mexico by friends or relatives, consuming the cheese while traveling in Mexico or eating unidentified cheese products from local street vendors, officials said. 

The county typically sees two to six cases a year, though 11 were recorded in 2004. 

Health officials confirmed all the Dallas County cases by blood culture. In two instances, hospital lab personnel were exposed while handling the samples. 

The Brucella bacteria can infect livestock and is most commonly transmitted to humans who consume the unpasteurized dairy products. Some areas, such as Mexico and Central and South America, are considered high-risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Love it when regulators explain themselves: Scottish cheesemaker will go bankrupt as watchdog says all their cheese is to be destroyed

The family that produces the gourmet cheese at the centre of fresh concerns over a fatal E. coli outbreak say they will be made bankrupt after a food watchdog confirmed all its produce is to be destroyed.

cheese-2-png-galleryInvestigators confirmed that their probe has now been widened after two more people were identified as being infected bring the number who were ill to 22, of which 13 have needed hospital treatment.

They are also examining whether cases of E. coli O157 infection affecting children in the Angus area may also be linked.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) on Wednesday issued a blanket ban on the sale of all cheese from Errington Cheese, of Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, the producer linked to the outbreak which led to the death of a three-year-old Dunbartonshire girl.

FSS explained for the first time details of tests during the seven-week long alert.

It confirmed E. coli non-O157 was detected in one sample of Dunsyre Blue produced by Lanarkshire-based Errington Cheese which is considered a “serious risk to public health”.

It said 13 samples in different batches of Errington’s Dunsyre Blue and one of Lanark White have tested “presumptive positive” for shiga toxin producing E .coli and are considered to be “potentially hazardous to health”.

While E. coli O157 was detected in one sample of Lanark White cheese it was not shown to contain stx genes which were found in people who were ill. However a food examiner declared it was “potentially injurious to health and/or unfit for human consumption”.

All positive tests were still awaiting “further confirmatory testing”. It was not clear when the testing took place.

A multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT), that includes Health Protection Scotland and Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish arm has been reconvened to deal with the latest developments.

Ten days ago the IMT had declared the outbreak to be “over” and that it had stood down leaving the FSS working with South Lanarkshire Council to continue food safety investigation.

And Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert on E.coli has questioned the proportionality of the food watchdog’s decision to issue a blanket ban on the sale of all cheeses from Errington.

e-coli-o157-cheeseThe emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said FSS had come down “very heavily” on Errington Cheese, stating there is a “real possibility” the organisation was “over-interpreting scientific evidence.”

He said that the “jury was still out” and while there may be a “moderately strong” case on Dunsyre Blue, there was “no scientific evidence” on any of the firm’s other cheeses.

Humphrey Errington, owner of Errington Cheese insisted there is no evidence linking his cheese to the outbreak insisting investigators will not talk to them about the proof for the sales ban.

FSS deny this, saying all all results from samples were shared with Errington and insist decision take to recall Errington Cheese Ltd products are “evidence-based and informed by interpretation from experts including legally designated food examiners”.

“They have destroyed us, basically. We are completely finished,” said Mr Errington. “It’s a nightmare. Unfortunately, nightmares are things you wake up from.

“They are destroying cheese to the value of £300,000, there is no company of our size that can survive that. “Our reputation is completely destroyed and the family will be bankrupt.

FSS said: “Potentially harmful strains of E.coli and the shiga toxin (stx) genes that can cause illness in humans have been found in a number of different batches of different cheeses produced by Errington Cheese Ltd.

“This means that FSS is not satisfied that the controls and production methods used by the business are producing safe food. Furthermore, the reliance on a limited number of negative test results as evidence that the food is safe provides insufficient assurance.

cheeseheads“Throughout this incident FSS has taken a proportionate approach based on the evidence and it considers that the evidence now

IMT chairman Dr Alison Smith-Palmer said that the IMT has established that 19 of the 22 confirmed cases had eaten blue cheese prior to becoming ill.

Of these, 15 are known to have eaten Dunsyre Blue while others cannot be certain about the brand of blue cheese they have consumed. Investigations are ongoing on the other cases.

Food Standards Scotland stated that on 14 September 2016 Food Standards Scotland (FSS) issued a food alert for action (FAFA) for all products produced by Errington Cheese Ltd. That decision was not taken lightly. FSS is fully aware of the impact on the business, but its priority is to protect public health.

FSS’s primary focus is protection of consumers. FSS has made information available where this has been in the public interest, but it would not be appropriate to conduct an ongoing food safety investigation through the media.

The recent outbreak of E. coli O157 has now affected 22 people, 13 of whom have required hospitalisation, and tragically, one child died as a consequence. The multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) chaired by Health Protection Scotland concluded that, based on strong epidemiological evidence, the outbreak of illness in humans was linked to Dunsyre Blue cheese, produced by Errington Cheese Ltd. Of the 22 confirmed cases to date, the IMT has established that 19 had eaten blue cheese prior to becoming ill. Of these, 15 are known to have eaten Dunsyre Blue while others cannot be certain about the brand of blue cheese they consumed. Investigations are ongoing on the other cases.

Since the outbreak was declared over on 5 September 2016, two new cases have been identified with the same outbreak strain of E. coli O157 and the IMT has consequently reconvened. 

Errington Cheese Ltd. has undertaken two voluntary recalls of cheese, and Food Standards Scotland has initiated two further recalls – on 10 and 14 September 2016.

The FSS recalls have been initiated on the basis of evidence available to FSS and South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) as a result of sampling and testing of cheese produced by Errington Cheese Ltd and concerns regarding its Food Safety Management System and its ability to produce safe products, and in view of the new epidemiological information available concerning the two new cases.

Errington Cheese Ltd has publically commented that E. coli O157 has not been found in its cheese. This is inaccurate. Some samples submitted for testing by SLC have tested positive for E. coli O157 and for another (non-O157) strain of E. coli. These organisms are considered a serious risk to public health by the Food Examiner and the Scottish E.coli O157/VTEC reference laboratory. In addition, further samples have tested positive for shiga toxin (stx) genes. These samples have tested “presumptive positive” for shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and therefore are considered to be potentially hazardous to health.

Analysis of samples taken by SLC has been carried out using accredited methods in official laboratories. All results from these samples were shared with Errington Cheese Ltd as soon as they were available. The decisions FSS has taken to recall Errington Cheese Ltd products are evidence-based and informed by interpretation from experts including legally designated Food Examiners.

  1. coli O157 and non-O157 have been detected in different batches of Dunsyre Blue and Lanark White produced by Errington Cheese Ltd. Batch numbers relate to the dates the batches were produced.

Batch F15 Dunsyre Blue: Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) has been cultured and isolated from a sample taken from batch F15 (Dunsyre Blue). This sample has been confirmed as a non-O157 E. coli (STEC). This type of E. coli has been known to cause severe illness. Nine further samples were subsequently taken from this batch, and all have also been found to contain the stx2 gene and one for the stx1 gene (all nine samples are therefore considered presumptive positive for STEC), FSS is awaiting further confirmatory testing on these samples. This product has not been placed on the market.

Batch G14 Lanark White: E. coli O157 has been cultured and isolated from a sample taken from batch G14 (Lanark White). This isolate has not been shown to contain the stx genes and is undergoing further analysis. Stx gene negative strains of E. coli O157 have been isolated from cases of human illness consistent with E. coli O157 infection.The Food Examiner declared this sample to be “potentially injurious to health and/or unfit for human consumption”. Therefore this batch was withdrawn by FSS following the refusal of the food business to withdraw it voluntarily.

Batch E24 Dunsyre Blue: two samples from batch E24 (Dunsyre Blue) have been found to contain the stx2 gene – these samples would therefore be considered as presumptive positives for STEC whilst FSS awaits further confirmatory testing. This batch was withdrawn voluntarily by the food business.

Batch G12 Dunsyre Blue: a sample from batch G12 (Dunsyre Blue) has been found to contain the stx2 gene (a presumptive positive for STEC) and FSS is awaiting further confirmatory testing on this sample. This product has not been placed on the market

Batch H24 Lanark White: A sample from batch H24 (Lanark White) has been found to contain the stx2 gene. This sample would be considered a presumptive positive for STEC whilst FSS awaits confirmatory testing.This product has not been placed on the market.

Potentially harmful strains of E.coli and the shiga toxin (stx) genes that can cause illness in humans have been found in a number of different batches of different cheeses produced by Errington Cheese Ltd.  This means that FSS is not satisfied that the controls and production methods used by the business are producing safe food. Furthermore, the reliance on a limited number of negative test results as evidence that the food is safe provides insufficient assurance, as it is clear that multiple samples across different cheese batches have had positive results.

Throughout this incident FSS has taken a proportionate approach based on the evidence and it considers that the evidence now justifies a full recall of Errington Cheese Ltd. products to ensure the protection of public health. FSS has been in frequent communication with Errington Cheese Ltd. throughout these investigations both directly, through SLC and through the company’s legal representatives.

From the point of issue of the FAFA, all Local Authorities in Scotland will be seeking to ensure all products manufactured by ECL are recalled and held with a view to being destroyed. If consumers have any products from Errington Cheese Ltd. they should dispose of them or take them back to the place of purchase. ‎