UK: ‘We need a two-pronged approach to avoid another E.coli outbreak’

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PROFESSOR Hugh Pennington, who conducted the public inquiry into the E.coli O157 outbreak, is to tell fellow experts that a two-pronged approach must be taken to prevent future cases.

He will tell a Royal Society for Public Health Conference in London next month that the lessons learned and then forgotten after the Wishaw outbreak in Scotland – into which he also conducted an inquiry – must be remembered this time.

Both the Scottish and Welsh outbreaks were caused by the fundamental failure of butchers to prevent cross contamination between raw and cooked meats.

Prof Pennington will also claim all the laws needed to prevent a serious outbreak are in place but need to be implemented and enforced properly.

“Tudor was the villain of the piece, but it wasn’t spotted that he was running an unsafe business,” said Prof Pennington.

“Here in the UK we have more cases of E.coli O157 per head of population than any other country in the world.

“The tools are in place to tackle the problem, but the authorities have really just got to get their houses in order to make sure they are doing all the things necessary to stop E.coli getting into the food chain.”


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