errington cheese

The cheese maker implicated in the Scottish e.coli outbreak has launched legal proceedings against Food Standards Scotland.

Errington Cheese lodged papers for a judicial review at Scotland’s Court of Session late last month in a bid to overturn a total ban on the sale of its products imposed by FSS on 14 September. The legal challenge would make evidence used against it by FSS “open to scrutiny”, it said.

Errington filed papers on three grounds: that FSS unlawfully ordered the destruction of its cheese; that it has seen no action from FSS after the ban and a call for an investigation into the cheese; and a claim FSS failed to produce evidence linking the outbreak to its products.

“FSS has given us no information at all,” said founder Humphrey Errington. “They say they’ve found pathogens, our own tests have found no pathogens, but we haven’t had any details of what tests they’ve done.”

The Lanarkshire company’s Dunsyre Blue was linked to an e.coli outbreak - which led to the death of a child - in June.

It has had to lay off all 12 of its workers, while some £350,000 of its cheese remained unsold.

The FSS had “backed down” and rescinded an order for the cheese to be destroyed after papers were filed for the judicial review, which was “tantamount to an admission they made a mistake in the first place in ordering destruction”, Humphrey claimed.

“If we lose this judicial review and we fold, there won’t be any raw milk cheese making in Scotland.”