Category Archives: E.coli O157

UK – Scotland – FSS Statement regarding Errington Cheese Ltd


Food Standards Scotland is aware of ongoing commentary around the Errington Cheese Ltd case. Food Standards Scotland is – rightly – publically accountable, and accountable to Parliament. Our duty is to protect public health. We believe it is in the public interest for FSS to address the inaccuracies being reported.

First, Food Standards Scotland does not act alone during a major food incident. In this instance, we were one of several agencies and 60 individuals representing Health Protection Scotland, NHS Health Boards, South Lanarkshire Council and other Local Authorities. Setting up an Incident Management team during an incident is standard practice to ensure a range of experts are involved.

Secondly, extensive investigations into the possible cause of the E.coli O157 outbreak of 2016 were undertaken – not just looking at a range of possible food sources, but also at possible factors common to all of the patients interviewed, such as recent travel, environmental factors etc. These investigations were extensive and exhaustive, and led the Incident Management Team to Dunsyre Blue cheese, produced by Errington Cheese Ltd, as the source of the outbreak.

This conclusion of the Incident Management Team report is not being legally challenged. The recent Sheriff Court proceedings did not relate to Dunsyre Blue cheese and therefore the Court did not have the opportunity to review the large body of evidence considered by the Incident Management Team during the outbreak. The Court condemned some batches of Corra Linn and Lanark Blue cheese because they failed to comply with food safety requirements, and released others.

Thirdly, the epidemiology (the spread of the disease and identification of the source) is being challenged in a report by Professor Norman Noah which we understand was prepared for the purpose of defending litigation against Errington Cheese Ltd by a third party. Neither Food Standards Scotland nor Health Protection Scotland have had sight of this report, despite requests, and so have had no opportunity to respond to its conclusions.

Further, there are calls for an independent review of Food Standards Scotland’s actions and decision – which, to reiterate, were not taken in isolation. An independent review has already been undertaken under a co-operative agreement between the central food authorities of New Zealand and those of the United Kingdom, which we have published on our website.

The Government of New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries evaluated the decisions that were taken regarding the recall of products from Errington Cheese Ltd during the E.coli O157 outbreak of 2016.

The reviewers in New Zealand were presented with extensive documentation which we will also be releasing. The evaluation was based on international good practice, New Zealand regulatory requirements and expectations that would be applied in a similar scenario, as well as the Ministry for Primary Industries’ specialist scientific evidence.

The New Zealand government reviewers “find the risk management decisions made and actions taken by the Competent Authorities SLC [South Lanarkshire Council] and FSS are reasonable and proportionate in regard to protecting public health.”

USA – Cargill recalls 12.64 tons of ground beef for E. coli O157:H7 contamination

Food Safety News 

kswfoodworld E.coli O157

Image CDC


Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, CO late Thursday recalled approximately 25,288 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157: H7, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The ground beef items were produced on Aug. 16, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:

  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 93/7 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with “Use/Frz. By Sep 05” on the chub label and a “PACK DATE 08/16/2018” on the box label.

The recalled beef products bear the establishment number “EST. 86R” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to warehouses in California and Colorado.

The problem was discovered on Aug. 22 by the establishment when they reviewed their records and determined that the product may be associated with the product that was presumptive positive for E. coli O157: H7. The company then notified FSIS. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

USA -FDA Investigating Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce from Yuma Growing Region




On July 31 and August 1, 2018, the FDA participated in a meeting of the Leafy Greens Food Safety Task Force that was formed in response to the serious outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with romaine lettuce that occurred earlier this year. During the meeting FDA shared preliminary hypotheses from the Environmental Assessment in Yuma to facilitate conversations with state and local officials, industry and local growers on the hypotheses and associated actions necessary to prevent such an outbreak from occurring again.

As FDA has previously stated, samples of canal water have tested positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli. FDA continues to consider that contaminated water coming into contact with produce, either through direct irrigation or other means, is a viable explanation for the pattern of contamination. But other hypotheses were discussed as well. FDA notes that the canal is close to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), a facility with a large number of cattle on the premises. The CAFO can hold in excess of 100,000 head of cattle at any one time and the FDA traceback information showed a clustering of romaine lettuce farms nearby.

Our experts continue to work on examining potential links between the CAFO, adjacent water, and geologic and other factors that may explain the contamination and its relationship to the outbreak. Additional sampling activities will be conducted to further explore and narrow down hypotheses in the near future. Our findings will be detailed in a finalized environmental assessment report.

We urge other government and non-government entities, produce growers in the region, and those engaged in managing the canal systems to work with FDA and marshal and deploy resources to achieve our collective food safety goal. Broad engagement from the surrounding community is critical to developing and implementing remediation measures to reduce the potential for another outbreak. We believe local in-depth knowledge and actions are critical in helping resolve this issue in order to protect public health.

The Environmental Assessment report will be made publicly available when complete.

Rsearch – Food residuals on the food‐contacting surfaces of stainless steel and polypropylene influence the efficacy of ultraviolet light in killing foodborne pathogens

Wiley Online


This study was conducted to examine effects of food residues on the survivals of pathogens on stainless steel (SSS) and polypropylene (PPP) after ultraviolet‐radiation (UVR) surface decontamination. Cultures of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes were inoculated on coupons containing deionized water, tryptic soy broth, pork, chicken, cabbage, and milk, respectively. The surface coupons were incubated at 100% relative humidity (RH) and 25°C for 24 hr to produce their own biofilms. UVR (=254 nm) surface decontamination for 120 min resulted in bacterial reductions in the levels of ≥2.5 log10 cfu/coupon. Populations of S. Typhimurium and L. monocytogenes within biofilms declined on SSS harboring chicken juice after UVR for 120 min, showing by <1.5 log10‐reductions. The presence of food residues on the food‐contacting surfaces would facilitate the strong adhesion of these organisms, indicating that bacteria enclosed in biofilms were more resistant to UVR sanitization.

Practical applications

In this study, it seemed to indicate that the incidence of varying food residues such as deionized water, tryptic soy broth, pork, chicken, cabbage, and milk could affect bacterial adhesion–attachment to the food‐contacting surfaces significantly. At least, some food residues such as pork, chicken, and milk would be supposed to provide a favorable environment where major foodborne pathogens are able to grow and produce their biofilms strongly. Especially, it was determined that the gram‐negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhimurium showed the higher sensitivity on coupons against ultraviolet‐radiation surface decontamination.

UK -Analysis shows source of E. coli outbreak was leafy greens – O157 – 2016

Food Safety News 

CDC E.coli

Image CDC Enter a caption

Increased use of ingredient-based analyses is being promoted by researchers after the method was used to identify the source of infection in an E. coli outbreak. 

Public Health England was alerted to an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157 phage type (PT) 34 in July 2016 involving 56 cases in England and Wales. The source of infection was baby-mixed leaf salad, which was an ingredient in multiple dishes.

“A traditional analysis may have resulted in multiple menu items being associated with illness, thereby failing to identify the true source of infection,” said researchers.


Research – Association of Escherichia coli O157:H7 with Houseflies on a Cattle Farm

American Society of Microbiology fly

The ecology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 is not well understood. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of and characterize E. coli O157:H7 associated with houseflies (HF). Musca domestica L. HF (n = 3,440) were collected from two sites on a cattle farm over a 4-month period and processed individually for E. coli O157:H7 isolation and quantification. The prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 was 2.9 and 1.4% in HF collected from feed bunks and a cattle feed storage shed, respectively. E. coli O157:H7 counts ranged from 3.0 × 101 to 1.5 × 105 CFU among the positive HF. PCR analysis of the E. coli O157:H7 isolates revealed that 90.4, 99.2, 99.2, and 100% of them (n = 125) possessed the stx1, stx2, eaeA, and fliC genes, respectively. Large populations of HF on cattle farms may play a role in the dissemination of E. coli O157:H7 among animals and to the surrounding environment.

Norway – Norway reports E. coli outbreak: Investigation ongoing

Outbreak News Today 

Health officials in Norway are reporting an E. coli O157: H7 outbreak that has sickened six people since June.

The six patients reside in different counties–Akershus, Oslo, Vestfold, Hordaland and Trøndelag.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is cooperating with the municipal health service and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Veterinary Institute to investigate whether the patients may have a common source of infection.

Interviews are conducted with the patients, and samples from the homes are taken to find the source of infection if possible. Investigative work can be complicated and take time, and in many cases it will not be possible to find the source of infection or to clarify whether it is a common source”, says Solveig Jore, senior adviser at the National Institute of Public Health.