E.COLI death update: Blue cheese is source

Published: 31 Mar 2017

Last year we heard of the death of a three-year-old child as many other people were hospitalised after the consumption of Dunsyre Blue cheese.

After investigation, a report was published by Health Protection Scotland on behalf of its Incident Management Team. The report concluded that Dunsyre Blue cheese was the source of an outbreak of E. coli O157

It investigated the outbreak in which a total of 26 cases of the same strain of E. coli O157 were identified between July and mid-September 2016.

Seventeen people required hospital treatment as a result of the outbreak.

The IMT concluded that the source of the outbreak was consumption of an unpasteurised cows' milk cheese.

Errington Cheese Ltd issued a “precautionary recall” of its Dunsyre Blue cheese which is made from unpasteurised cow’s milk.  The recall had been issued over fears the cheese may contain shiga toxin-producing E Coli – a harmful type of bacteria which can cause death.

The Scottish artisan Dunsyre Blue cheese product is mainly supplied to hotels, restaurants, specialist cheese shops and delicatessens.

As a result of recent events, Food Standards Scotland had warned consumers not to eat cheeses from the implicated batches or cheeses with no batch details.

The affected dates are batches of E24 Dunsyre Blue with best before dates between 18/09/2016 to 18/10/2016.

And batches of E24 Dunsyre Baby with best before dates between 21/09/2016 to 11/10/2016.

As a result of the recent E.coli outbreaks involving both cheese and salad leaves, CSC recommends the following advice on how to minimise exposure to E.coli:

  1. Personal hygiene – practice good hand washing procedures, especially after visiting the toilet, after touching animals, handling raw meats etc.
  2. Ensure that the wash hand basin is equipped with antibacterial hand soap, a supply of both hot and cold running water and a means to dry hands.
  3. Thorough cleaning of fruit and vegetables is critical to ensure that any loose soil and germs are removed. All vegetables, including salad leaves, intended to be eaten raw should be thoroughly washed. The use of chlorine wash can also be used.
  4. A good segregation system needs to be put in place to ensure that raw and cooked/ready to eat food items are stored separately.
  5. Ensure that processing and cooking equipment are cleaned and sanitised to the strictest hygiene standards.
  6. Ensure that food items, especially meat, are thoroughly cooked.

If you require any additional support regarding the prevention of E.coli O157, please do not hesitate to contact us