ERRINGTON CHEESE WILL NOT FACE PROSECUTION OVER E.COLI DEATH

The Crown Office has announced that no criminal proceedings are to be brought against a cheese manufacturer over an E.coli outbreak in which a three-year-old girl died.

The Crown Office said Errington Cheese Ltd or its owners would not face prosecution over the child's death in September 2016. A criminal prosecution is still possible if new evidence becomes available and a decision to conduct a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) is being carefully considered by the Crown.

The death came during an outbreak of E. coli O157 in 2016 between July and September. A total of 26 cases of the same strain of E. coli O157 were identified as a result of the outbreak, which left 17 people requiring hospital treatment.

The Incident Management Team report on the outbreak published in March this year concluded that the source of the infection was consumption of an unpasteurised cows' milk cheese.

The Incident Management Team found that potentially pathogenic E. coli were able to enter and survive the cheese production process at the food business.

The family-owned Errington, based in Lanarkshire, has never accepted that its unpasteurized Dunsyre Blue caused the outbreak or the death.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "On 2 September 2016 a three year-old Dunbartonshire girl died as a complication of an E. Coli infection. After giving the case careful consideration, Crown Counsel have concluded, based on the available evidence, that there will be no criminal proceedings brought as a result of the death. Should additional evidence come to light that decision may be reconsidered. The family have been informed of this decision. A decision on whether or not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry is currently under careful consideration."

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