errington cheese

Public health officials have detained cheese made by the brand linked to a major Scottish e.coli outbreak last year, after the company announced plans to put some of its products back on sale.

The move comes a week after Errington Cheese said it would reopen the business, and make two of its products available for sale from Monday 16 January.

The two cheeses - Lanark Blue and Corra Linn - were not implicated in the e.coli outbreak, but were subsequently detained for testing by South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) as soon as they went back on sale.

All of the company’s products were removed from sale in September as part of investigations into the e.coli outbreak.

“SLC now has a duty to act ‘expeditiously’ in sampling and testing the detained cheeses,” said a notice on the Errington Cheese website. “After 21 days of detention we believe the authorities must either release the cheese for us to sell it or take it to a Sheriff with evidence of unfitness for human consumption.”

Company founder Humphrey Errington said he was “encouraged” by the move from the council, which takes the cheesemaker “out of legal limbo”. However, he was concerned over the time it would take for testing, as the council intends to take 150 batches, with five samples tested from every batch, he added.

Errington said it currently had no plans to place the two cheeses linked to the e.coli outbreak - Dynsure Blue and Lanark White - back on sale.

“We have been in discussions with Errington Cheese Limited throughout this process, most recently in relation to their stated intention to place on the market cheeses covered by the Food Alert for Action, which was issued by Food Standards Scotland,” said Michael McGlynn, executive director of community and enterprise resources at South Lanarkshire Council.

“Those discussions continue and we remain keen to work with the firm going forward. As part of this we have made clear to Errington Cheese what steps need to be taken before these cheeses can be put on the market, including tests that must be carried out so that we are satisfied that it is safe to do so.”

“However, given that Errington has indicated it intends to continue with its plan to sell these cheeses before we know the results of those tests, environmental health officers have had no choice other than to detain those cheeses to prevent them being put on the market.”