Top Cheesemaker Recalls Products Over E.coli Concerns, Just in Time for Christmas

25 December 2023

UK’s Food Standards Agency issues warning about contaminated cheese, potentially impacting holiday cheeseboards

In a last-minute blow to Christmas festivities, a renowned cheesemaker has issued a recall for four of its products over concerns of E.coli contamination. Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd, a high-end cheesemaker in the UK, received a warning from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) just ahead of Christmas Day, when many families were preparing to indulge in festive cheeseboards. The recall affects the company’s Mild & Creamy Lancashire, Tasty Lancashire, Mature Lancashire, and Smoked Lancashire products. The FSA has cautioned that the contaminated cheese may have been bundled in hampers, making it difficult for consumers to identify if they have received the affected products.

The Potential Health Risks and Contamination Details

The FSA has highlighted the potential health risks associated with the contaminated cheese. The affected products may contain Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), which can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and potentially haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and, in some cases, be fatal. Given the severity of these potential health risks, the recall is an important precautionary measure.

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd and its Traditional Methods

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd, founded in 1978, is one of the UK’s few remaining dairies that still employs traditional cheesemaking methods. The company takes pride in using unpasteurized milk, making it one of the last makers of Lancashire cheese to do so. Lancashire cheese is a creamy cow’s milk cheese originating from the northwestern English county of the same name. It has a rich history and is known for its distinct characteristics, earning Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Commission.

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Impact on the Cheese Industry and Other Recalls

The recall from Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd is not the only one to affect the cheese industry during the holiday season. French artisanal maker Route des Terroirs also recalled its Morbier Maison Monts & Terroirs Chalet De Vevy cheese in England due to similar concerns regarding E.coli contamination. These recalls highlight the importance of stringent quality control measures in the food industry, especially during peak consumption periods like Christmas.

Consumer Awareness and Precautions

The FSA has urged consumers who have purchased or received the affected cheese products to refrain from consuming them. It is essential for individuals to check their purchases, especially if they were bundled in hampers or served as part of a charcuterie grazing platter. The agency advises contacting the retailer or disposing of the products to ensure the safety of consumers and prevent the potential spread of E.coli.

Conclusion:

The recall of Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese products due to E.coli concerns has cast a shadow over Christmas celebrations for many cheese enthusiasts. The potential health risks associated with the contaminated cheese emphasize the importance of food safety measures and quality control in the industry. As consumers, it is crucial to remain vigilant and follow the guidance provided by regulatory agencies to ensure our well-being. This incident serves as a reminder that even the most beloved and traditional foods can pose risks if proper precautions are not taken.

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