Urgent Recall of Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire Cheese: E.coli Outbreak

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Urgent Recall of Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese: E.coli Outbreak

The UK’s health security agency has reported at least 30 confirmed cases of E.coli that could be linked to Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, prompting an urgent recall of four varieties

The recall began on Christmas Day and includes Mrs Kirkham’s Mild & Creamy Lancashire, Tasty Lancashire, Mature Lancashire, and Smoked Lancashire.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) disclosed that the reported cases were of the “specific outbreak strain,” believed to be present in the recalled cheese. Consumers who purchased these products have been advised to follow recall notices and take appropriate precautions.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and UKHSA cautioned against consuming the affected cheeses due to potential contamination with a specific type of E.coli bacteria known as Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC or VTEC), a pathogen capable of causing food poisoning.

Symptoms associated with STEC organisms include severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and, in some cases, haemolytic uremic syndrome—a serious condition that may lead to kidney failure and can be fatal.

Consumers are urged to avoid consuming the recalled products, thoroughly clean surfaces, utensils, and equipment that may have come into contact with the cheese, and ensure refrigerators are kept at 5°C or below to limit bacterial growth.

Tina Potter, FSA’s head of incidents, emphasised the importance of checking whether the product was purchased or received as a gift. She urged consumers to follow the advice in the recall notices to mitigate potential risks.

Amy Douglas, UKHSA’s incident director, highlighted the significance of proper hand-washing with soap and warm water, using bleach-based products for surface cleaning, and refraining from preparing food for others until 48 hours after symptoms cease.

The agencies are closely collaborating and working with local authorities to address the outbreak, indicating that additional recalls may be initiated if more affected products are identified.

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd released a statement, confirming the recall of all cheese purchased between October 1 and December 24. The company expressed cooperation with local environmental health officers and the FSA to comprehend the situation and determine whether their products are implicated correctly.

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