South Lanarkshire Council v Errington Cheese Ltd court case judgement
The Sheriff Court Judgement of South Lanarkshire Council against Errington Cheese Limited has been published.
The case is regarding cheese made by Errington cheese which was seized by South Lanarkshire Council in 2017.
The cheese was seized following an outbreak of E.coli O157 in 2016 in which Dunsyre Blue cheese made by Errington Cheese was the named the most likely source of the outbreak.
The case focused on sheep’s milk cheese made by Errrington Cheese- Corra Linn and Lanark Blue. Dunsyre Blue which is made from cow’s milk did not form part of the case. In total 83 batches of Lanark Blue were seized and 70 batches of Corra Linn.
The Sheriff’s ruling was the cheeses seized were produced, processed or distributed in compliance with the Hygiene Regulations with the exception of four batches- one batch of Lanark Blue and three batches of Corra Linn.
Lanark Blue was shown to contain an unidentified shiga toxin E.coli (STEC) bacterium identical to that found in one batch of Dunsyre Blue. Three batches of Corra Linn, were shown to contain other unknown strains of E.coli.
Ross Finnie, chairman of Food Standards Scotland said he was "disappointed" the Sheriff did not rule that all the sheep's milk cheeses should be destroyed.
He said: "Food Standards Scotland is content that the Sheriff's judgment in the case of South Lanarkshire Council v Errington Cheese Ltd concluded that some of the cheeses produced by Errington Cheese Ltd were unfit for human consumption.
"However, we are disappointed this did not include all of the cheese involved in these proceedings.
"Food Standards Scotland was part of the incident management team which worked to contain the E.coli O157 outbreak in Scotland in 2016 and which gathered the large volume of evidence required in this complex case.
"South Lanarkshire Council's decision to bring condemnation proceedings, which Food Standard Scotland supported, was not taken lightly and all the organisations involved believed there was a strong case for taking such action."
He said Food Standards Scotland would "study the judgment fully to consider its implications."
Michael McGlynn, South Lanarkshire Council's executive director of community and enterprise resources, said: "The council acknowledges the sheriff's decision to confirm the destruction of some of the cheese that action was taken against, whilst noting the sheriff's decision on the remaining batches.
"We are considering the implications of the decision."