On the 9th January we told the council we intended to put our sheep’s cheese back on the market on Monday the 16th Jan as we felt that as the FSS were unwilling to sit down and discuss firstly recommencing sales (of sheep’s cheese not implicated in the Ecoli 0157 outbreak) and secondly STEC and raw milk cheese, there was no alternative but to make them take the matter to a court hearing. They reacted by serving detention notices without any limit on the duration, hence our petition for judicial review and the judges opinion that the authorities were acting unlawfully.
This morning the Council officials arrived unannounced to use their powers under the Food Safety Act as instructed last week by the judge at the court of session. Although this has been a really painful day for us it is none the less a relief as we may be able to get a judicial hearing of our case and get some kind of closure one way or another as I think personally we could not cope with another 6 months of the relentless aggressive harrassment from those at the top of Food standards Scotland
Corra Linn was seized under section 9 of the Food Safety Act 1990 in order to sample the cheese within 21 days and either release it on to the market or take it to the sheriff court with the exception of 9 batches which we are allowed to sell. This is some Good News.
They have seized our entire stock of Lanark Blue under the Food Safety Act 1990 and taken it to a container in Paisley. We believe that the removal of the cheese was unnecessary, unreasonable and potentially harmful to the cheese; the cheese could have been kept in place with seals attached to the door of the chill. But the SLC acted so precipitously that we had no time to secure an interdict to stop this. Van have been shuttling to and from Paisley all day and only just finished at 10pm this evening involving 3 vans, 7 EHO’s and trading standards.
They plan to take one batch to the sheriff Court to declare it unsafe based on the identical unidentified strain of Ecoli found in Dunsyre Blue batch F15. As we believe this to be a lab mix up we did ask SLC to re-test the batch however they say they do not wish to do any more testing. We believe they are wrong because:
The two batches of cheese did not come into contact with one another and were made on separate months.
It is biologically implausible for an identical strain of ecoli to be found in different species (cows and sheep) on farms that are geographically separated.
The “unidentified” strain found in the Dunsyre Blue which they claim is in Lanark Blue too is not a recognized pathogen.
All the other batches of Lanark Blue have been seized under the general allegation that they were made by processes which suffered from “serious deficiencies”. At the moment we do not know when the case will come before the sheriff