The United Kingdom has finished the inquiry into the island nation’s second worst E. coil outbreak in its history. In the 2005 outbreak, there were 157 cases of E.coli at 44 schools, with 31 children needing hospital treatment. And five-year old Mason Jones, of the Deri Primary School, near Bargoed, South Wales, died. (The boy and the butcher are both pictured here.)
Now the official inquiry has found William Tudor, the butcher, was responsible. Nothing unexpected about that finding as Tudor, 55, already plead guilty to six counts of placing unsafe food on the market and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
The official inquiry was extensive. It reviewed more than 45,000 pages of evidence; took 258 statements from 191 witnesses (excluding statements taken by South Wales Police); and heard from 63 witnesses called during six-weeks of public hearings.
While putting the blame squarely on Tudor, the report made extensive recommendations including:
- All food businesses must ensure that their systems and procedures are capable of preventing contamination or cross-contamination of food with E.coli O157.
- Additional resources should be made available to ensure that all food businesses in Wales put in place an effective food safety management system;
- Regulatory and enforcement bodies should employ more robust checks;
- All inspections – primary and secondary – must be unannounced unless, exceptionally, there are specific and justifiable circumstances or reasons why a pre-arranged visit is necessary;
- Business contracting for the supply of high-risk foods, such as raw and cooked meats, to public sector organisations, must be subject to independent food hygiene audits;
- All councils in Wales should review their policies, procedure and systems against issues raised in the report.
For more on the report, go here.