FSA News Item, 26 September 2005
The Food Standards Agency has welcomed the proposed inquiry announced by the Welsh Assembly Health Minister into the E.coli O157 outbreak in Wales.
In addition, FSA Chair Deirdre Hutton has said that the Agency's Board will discuss in public a report on the outbreak.
Deirdre Hutton said:
'This is a very serious and distressing incident for the many families who have been affected. Our thoughts are with them. The focus at present is, rightly, very much on containing the outbreak and that work continues. The Agency will participate fully with the inquiry proposed by the Welsh Assembly. In addition, I have asked that there be a full public report to the Board of the FSA into the outbreak. It is vital to learn any lessons not just in Wales but across the UK.'
Local authorities have been taking steps from the beginning of last week to protect the public by putting control measures in place.
As of 4pm on Monday 26 September, more than 600 premises have been identified as receiving supplies from John Tudor & Son of Bridgend, which has been linked to the outbreak. It should be stressed that meat received from the company is not necessarily contaminated.
Local authorities have informed the FSA that the vast majority of cooked meats have been removed from use and they are following this up to ensure that all such products are withdrawn.
In addition to schools, public institutions such as care homes, day centres, nurseries, and leisure centres had received supplies, as well as one small retail outlet, and staff canteens.
The Agency received a customer list, supplied by John Tudor & Son to the local authority, on Wednesday 21 September.
It soon became apparent that the list was incomplete, although the Agency was aware that local authorities involved in the outbreak investigation had already arranged the withdrawal of cooked meats from educational premises in their aread.
On Wednesday afternoon the Agency issued a Food Alert for Action (FAFA) to all local authorities in Wales, asking them to make contact with premises as listed, to ensure that all cooked meat products delivered from John Tudor & Son of Bridgend were removed from use.
Further updates were issued to local authorities as investigations progressed.
On Friday 23 September the FSA advised all local authorities in Wales to make contact with small to medium sized caterers, local shops, delicatessens and pubs to ensure that any meat supplied by Bridgend supplier John Tudor & Son had been removed from use.
Throughout the weekend, local authorities across Wales have been checking to ensure that there are no other customers and that all products have been removed from the food chain.
The focus of the investigation has been on the full range of cooked meats from the supplier, including ham, lamb and turkey.
As both sliced and whole joints were available from the supplier, all cooked meats have been deemed a potential risk.
Investigations continue and the FSA will issue further updates as appropriate.
For the previous news item on this topic, see: 22 September 2005 FOOD POISONING - Update on the E. coli outbreak investigation