The Crown Office has decided not to carry out a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the death of a three-year-old girl during an outbreak of E.coli O157 in 2016.
The Crown Office had previously said South Lanarkshire-based Errington Cheese would not face prosecution over the child’s death. The firm’s Dunsyre Blue was named the most likely source of the outbreak.
The Crown Office said it had considered “all the relevant matters” it decided this was not a case where an FAI was required.
A total of 26 cases of the same strain of E. coli O157 were identified between July and September 2016 as a result of the outbreak, which left 17 people requiring hospital treatment.
A report published by Health Protection Scotland on behalf of the Incident Management Team in March 2017 said that the likely source of the infection was consumption of an unpasteurised cows’ milk cheese. The multi-agency incident management team, consisting of Health Protection Scotland, South Lanarkshire Council, and Environmental Health teams from a further from 11 Local Authorities, found that potentially pathogenic E. coli were able to enter and survive the cheese production process at the food business.
However, Errington Cheese has repeatedly questioned the quality of the investigation and any suggestion that their product was responsible.
A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown Office has fully investigated the death of a three year-old Dunbartonshire girl who died on September 2, 2016 following a complication of an E.coli infection.
“Following a full and thorough investigation by the procurator fiscal, Crown counsel have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution, and as a result no criminal proceedings are instructed.
“Should additional evidence come to light, that decision may be reconsidered.
“Having given careful consideration to all relevant matters, including the recommendations of the incident management team, Crown counsel were satisfied that the cause of the death had been clearly established and that in the circumstances this was not a case where a fatal accident inquiry was required.
“The family have been informed of this decision.”
Last year the company announced it had started making Dunsyre Blue using pasteurised, rather than unpasteurised milk, but that it hoped the move would be “only a short to medium term measure whilst we wait for resolution of the ongoing legal issues”.