‘E. coli destroyed Mason’s organs from the inside’

Sharon Mills, the mother of E. coli victim Mason Jones told a coroner’s inquest today,

“It’s not just a tummy bug; it’s not just diarrhea,” she said. “It killed Mason’s organs and destroyed him from the inside. I didn’t realize that at the time because on the outside he just looked healthy.”

The South Wales Echo reports the inquest heard that Mason, who had only just started having school dinners at Deri Primary School that month, had eaten cold gammon and turkey supplied by butcher William Tudor.

Schools run by Caerphilly council used the cold cooked meats in sandwiches and served it with warm gravy – the meat was not reheated.

Ms Mills told the inquest she had repeatedly tried to get medical help for Mason – “I rang anyone who would listen” – but he was sent home.

Ms Mills told the inquest, at Newport Coroner’s Court, the age of “light-touch” regulation of abattoirs and meat processing plants must end after it heard evidence of Tudor’s disregard for food hygiene at his Bridgend plant.

It emerged he was still trying to sell meat unfit for human consumption during the E.coli outbreak; that he sold frozen New Zealand mutton as Welsh lamb and ordered his staff to turn rotten meat into faggots.

Detective Superintendent Paul Burke, of South Wales Police, who investigated Tudor following Mason’s death, said independent food safety experts consulted by the force had concluded the “prevailing culture in the business was not about food safety but the emphasis was on making and saving money.”

Ms Mills told the inquest she wanted E. coli expert Professor Hugh Pennington to be invited back to Wales to examine whether his recommendations from the public inquiry had been implemented.

“I want to avoid this happening to another family and to stop rogue traders from allowing contaminated meat to get into the food chain. If this prevents another death then I know my son’s death won’t have been in vain.”