After the 2005 E. coli O157 outbreak which killed 5-year-old Mason Jones and sickened 160 schoolchildren in Wales, Professor Hugh Pennington led a public inquiry which revealed the futility of food safety training, government inspection, and pretty much anything to do with the so-called food safety system.
Yesterday, First Minister Rhodri Morgan announced more of the same in responding to Pennington’s report in the Wales Assembly.
“We know already that the Food Standards Agency is to review the use of equipment such as vacuum-packing machinery for both raw and cooked products.”
Duh. It shouldn’t happen.
“The training of inspectors and their managers is also being examined, with the aim of making this more comprehensive, helping them develop a sixth sense of what is potentially catastrophic.”
So they can see dead people?
“Inspections will be unannounced unless there is a clear requirement otherwise.”
Just make the inspections unannounced.
Sharon Mills and Nathan Jones, the parents of Mason Jones (above, right) said they would like to see Mr Morgan take more direct action and impose measures on the authorities involved, instead of leaving them to correct their own mistakes, with Ms. Mills stating,
“It was a bit disappointing because there was nothing definite about what he said. I thought we were going to get some answers and there still aren’t any. I don’t think we are any further forward than we were before.”
Somewhere, Prof. Pennington, who also headed the inquiry after the 1996 E. coli O157 outbreak in Scotland that killed 21 and sickened over 400, is wondering how to escape this Groundhog-Day-esque cycle of outbreak-illness-death-report-repeat.