Cheesemaker avoids charges over e-coli death of child

No criminal charges are to be brought against a cheese maker following the death of a young girl during an E.coli outbreak.

Dunsyre Blue cheese
Dunsyre Blue cheese

Prosecutors said there would be no criminal proceedings raised over the death of the three-year-old in September last year, based on the evidence available.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) could still be held.

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A total of 26 cases of the same strain of E.coli O157 were identified in the outbreak, which occurred between July and mid-September 2016. Seventeen people were hospitalised and the three-year-old girl died.

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A report published by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) in March said that consumption of Dunsyre Blue cheese was the likely source of the outbreak.

However, Lanarkshire-based manufacturer Errington Cheese has always strongly disputed that its unpasteurised Dunsyre Blue was the cause.

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said on Wednesday: “On 2 September 2016 a three-year-old Dunbartonshire girl died as a complication of an E.coli infection.

“After giving the case careful consideration, Crown Counsel have concluded, based on the available evidence, that there will be no criminal proceedings brought as a result of the death.

“Should additional evidence come to light that decision may be reconsidered.

“The family have been informed of this decision.

“A decision on whether or not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry is currently under careful consideration.”

Company founder Humphrey Errington told The Times Scotland: “We have never accepted that our cheese had anything to do with the illness that led to this tragic death.

“This decision from the procurator fiscal is a profound reassurance to us.”