James Meikle of the Guardian reports that all dairy products made from unpasteurised milk by a French company were being withdrawn from sale yesterday following a food poisoning scare linked to butter and cheese.
Shoppers were told to check where goods came from after the Food Standards Agency extended its warning over products from Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d’Ay-etablissement Reaux in Normandy.
The FSA had ordered the withdrawal from sale of all Camembert cheese made by the company earlier this week over fears that it may have been contaminated with the food poisoning bug E coli O26 which can prove fatal to the very young and the elderly.
The Food Standards Agency was last night unable to say how many products were on sale in Britain or give a list of all the brand names. They had been imported through several channels and may be on sale at small delicatessens, farmers markets or food fairs as well as at other shops, it said.
E coli cases have been reported in France although not yet in this country, the agency said. A recall of Camembert and Coulommiers cheeses was ordered on Monday, with Waitrose among retailers taking action.
This was followed by withdrawal of one brand of unpasteurised butter on Tuesday, but now all raw milk products made by the company are being being regarded as unsafe because of possible E coli contamination.
Shoppers can identify the products via a health mark with the letter F above the number 50.267.01, which is above the letters CEE within an oval border.
Some of the company’s products go under the brand names Reo, Reaux, Laiterie du Val d’Ay and le Gaslonde.
The agency said: “Some strains of E coli 026 can cause severe food poisoning and people should not eat any raw milk products with this health mark. The strain found in the affected products has the potential to cause illness in all age groups.
“The raw milk products are thought to be imported directly into the UK and sold in a variety of retail outlets, possibly including farmers markets and food fairs. Some of the cheeses may have been sold for slicing at delicatessens or specialist cheesemongers.
“Anyone who thinks they have purchased one of these raw milk products should contact the retailer where they purchased the product or their local authority.”