Brussels is taking the British government to court over alleged failure to deal with food safety problems unearthed at a Lancashire cheese factory.

Bowland Dairy Products was accused by EU inspectors of selling curd made from milk tainted with antibiotics and detergents, even though the Food Standards Agency had given it a clean bill of health. Now they plan to inspect up to ten dairies in England and Wales for compliance with regulations starting on 21 November.

A spokesman for consumer health commissioner Markos Kyprianou confirmed that the week-long inspection was unprecedented and came about because of a serious difference of opinion with the FSA. "We are concerned in this specific case that the FSA failed to take the right action."

The UK government is mulling its response to the accusations in the first stage of infringement proceedings.

Jim Begg, director general of Dairy UK, promised full co-operation with the EU inspectors.