Blue cheese responsible for 2016 E. coli outbreak

Testing for bacteria in lab

In mid-2016, there was an outbreak of E. coli O157 reported in Scotland with tragic consequences for a 3-year-old girl and a further seventeen requiring hospitalisation.

Initial investigations by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) suggested a link to certain batches of Dunsyre Blue Cheese, manufactured by Errington Cheese Limited which led to a sales ban being put in place.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has now published the report on behalf of the multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) in relation to the 2016 E coli O157 outbreak.

The official report concludes that the source of the outbreak was indeed an unpasteurised blue cheese, Dunsyre Blue, produced by Errington Cheese Limited.

26 people injured from this E.coli outbreak

The report confirms that a total of 26 cases of the same strain of E. coli O157 were identified in the outbreak between July and mid-September 2016.

The report describes the detailed epidemiological, microbiological, food and environmental investigations carried out by the IMT, leading to the conclusion that Dunsyre Blue was the source of the outbreak.

Process deficiencies caused E.coli outbreak

In addition, the IMT identified deficiencies in the processes in place at Errington Cheese for the monitoring and control of toxins producing E. coli (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli or “STEC).

The local council has ensured the relevant monitoring and controls are now in place and Errington has begun production once again.

This report presents key lessons learned and recommendations for improvement to ensure no-one else suffers injury as the result of failings in health and safety.

Digby Brown’s specialist food poisoning solicitors are currently representing victims of this E. coli outbreak. If you would like further advice or information, please contact Mark Gibson on 0141 566 9503 or David Henderson on 0141 566 0892.