Health Protection Scotland (HPS) are investigating 16 confirmed cases of the same strain of E. coli O157, which may be associated with eating blue cheese made from unpasteurised milk in Lanarkshire.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) said the company is carrying out a voluntary recall of suspected batches of the blue cheese and advised consumers who have bought the product and still have it in their fridge not to eat it.
Officials are advising anyone who purchased the cheese with batch codes C22 or D14 between mid-May and the end of July to not eat the product.
Dr Syed Ahmed, clinical director at HPS, said: “Members of the public who purchased Dunsyre Blue cheese and still have the product in their fridges should return it to the retailer where they purchased the product or dispose of it.”
The cases developed symptoms between 2 and 15 July.
The business’ founder, Humphrey Errington, told The Scotsman they were co-operating fully with HPS’ investigation but were shocked by the initial findings.
Mr Errington said: “We don’t know for sure yet if this happened because of our cheese. We’re completely baffled by their (HPS) conclusion it is connected to Dunsyre Blue. We haven’t seen the evidence yet, only circumstantial proof that some of the 16 had eaten the cheese at hotels we supply. We have sent more than 40 samples to testing centres and all tests so far have come back negative for E. coli O157.”
Mr Errington, whose daughter Selina Cairns now runs the company, was concerned of the impact the outbreak could have on the family-run firm.