Groundhog Day: UK cheese destroyed due to E. coli risk

In 1996, 23 people died in an E. coli O157 outbreak when Scotland’s former butcher-of-the-year used the same knives on raw and cooked beef.

In 2005, a five-year-old child died and 160 were sickened after a butcher used the same vacuum packaging machine on raw and cooked beef.

Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing, who cooked for the Queen on her 80th birthday and is star of BBC’s Great British Menu series, failed his most recent restaurant inspection bill.murray.groundhog.daybecause he used the same vac-pak machine on raw and cooked product.

Now, according to the Cheddar Valley Gazette, cheese from  Bridgwater Butchers has been seized and destroyed as a result of a routine food hygiene inspection carried out by Sedgemoor District Council Environmental Health staff on January 15.

Environmental health staff discovered that cheese from A I Foster’s, in St Marys Street, Bridgwater was being vacuum-packed on the same equipment as raw meat before being displayed for sale.

Due to the risk of the cheese being contaminated with E. coli O157 the cheese was seized.

An application was made to Taunton Magistrates Court by Sedgemoor’s Legal team for a condemnation order.

In addition to the costs of destroying the cheese the Council were also awarded full costs claimed of over £600.

The Food Standards Agency stress that: “Under no circumstances should it be considered safe to use the same complex equipment, such as vacuum packing machines, slicers, mincers, etc, for both raw and ready-to-eat foods.”

Rules need enforcement.