The report makes a number of recommendations including:
The report comes hot on the heels of another major E.coli O157 outbreak in Scotland, this time affecting 15 members of a girl guide group on a camping trip near Inverclyde.
Professor Reilly said:
"The people who took part in the Task Force were well informed and, in many respects, experts. The input from the patient support groups was particularly valuable. Our process has shared a huge amount of information and has, in reality, already begun the process of dissemination as each Task Force member has taken our message back to his or her own organisation or into the community. The real challenge now is to get the message to the rest of the population. In most aspects of our study we advocate either education or other awareness-raising exercises to promote the message. We look to the Minister to put the recommendations into practice."
Welcoming the report, Ms Deacon said:
"Scotland has an unenviable record of E coli O157 infection and it is good to see that the Task Force has reached practical conclusions in such a short space of time. This report is written in my kind of language - it is straightforward and gets the message across. It also makes clear that E.coli O157 touches on a range of areas: farming, environmental issues, education and food. The 'burger bug' theory is no longer valid.
"The Task Force has consulted widely within the community, within Government and across the UK to assemble the Task Force and to take a huge amount of evidence. This is joined-up Government in its truest sense. For our part, the Scottish Executive and the Food Standards Agency will now actively consider how best the recommendations can be taken forward."
The Report is published today and has been simultaneously placed on both the Task Force's own website (http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/scotland/e.coli.htm) and that of the Scottish Executive http://www.scotland.gov.uk.
The Scottish Executive and the Food Standards Agency are now committed to taking forward the recommendations within a series of separate but inter-related action plans. Arrangements have been made to ensure that the benefits of this mainly Scottish exercise can be applied as appropriate in other parts of the UK.
The establishment of the Task Force was announced in FSA Press Release number 25/00 dated 25 September 2000. The Interim Report to the Health Minister and the accompanying Interim Guidance was announced in FSA Press Release number 12/01 dated 22 February 2001. The evidence received at meetings of the Task Force is published on the Task Force website. References of formally published and peer-assessed work are given in Annex 13 to the Report together with acknowledgements of all those who provided evidence at the meetings.