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Response to Food Standards Scotland press release this morning

07 September 2018

1. “FSS does not act alone”. FSS was the body responsible for investigating food links to the illness and in particular for investigating Errington Cheese Ltd and its hygiene controls.

2. “These investigations were extensive and exhaustive and led the IMT to Dunsyre Blue cheese . . .as the source of the outbreak”. We were told at the end of July 2016, when the IMT had only just been set up, that Dunsyre Blue was the only possible cause being investigated, i.e. the investigation did not lead to Dunsyre Blue, it began with Dunsyre Blue and looked at almost nothing else.

3. “The Sheriff Court proceedings did not relate to Dunsyre Blue”. But they did relate to the allegation of hygiene deficiencies which was central to the argument that Dunsyre Blue had caused the illness. Significantly, the Sheriff’s decision anent Lanark Blue and Corra Linn has been followed immediately by an announcement from South Lanarkshire Council that charges against Dunsyre Blue are being withdrawn. 

4. FSS and HPA have never asked us for a copy of Professor Noah's report, FSS have asked once for a copy from our solicitors, unfortunately it is not yet complete as soon as it is we will pass on to HPS

5. New Zealand does not allow production of raw milk cheese, if FSS really wanted a balanced assessment carried out on their actions they would have got a country in the EU operating under the same legislation who are allowed to make raw milk cheese such as France.

   The New Zealand review is dated March 2018. Since then there has been the Sheriff’s judgement based on far more detailed evidence than that available to the NZ reviewers. The Sherriff found that after listening to over three weeks of evidence that the cheese was safe therefore the FAFA regarding all the cheese and the subsequent risk assessments were ill founded. Re-iterating their views publically at this point is contempt for the judgement, as is the continued publication of all their documents and statements in relation to our business on their website.

The NZ review attempts to support the FSS claim regarding “serious hygiene deficiencies”. The Sheriff’s judgement is clear that the FSS claim is wrong.The NZ review is largely concerned with patting FSS on the back for their decision to issue FAFA’s and not to any meaningful extent concerned with the validity of the IMT conclusion regarding Dunsyre Blue as the cause of the outbreak.At no point over the past two years have HPS or FSS answered our concerns regarding the outbreak investigation and we do intend to challenge it in some way in court if there is indeed a way.