‘Change culture to avoid E. coli’
of Article: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/07/15/change-culture-to-avoid-e-coli-91466-24155870/
15 2009 by Abby
Alford, South Wales Echo
A CULTURE change is needed in all parts of the food
supply chain if the UK is to avoid another E.coli food poisoning outbreak.
That is the conclusion of the Government department
charged with ensuring food safety.
The board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
yesterday approved a five-year plan that will push food businesses to adopt
a food safety culture and comply with hygiene laws, and urge stricter
punishments for those that do not.
The FSA will also ensure health inspectors are better
Responding to the serious flaws found in the
environmental health and abattoir inspection regimes uncovered by the
public inquiry into the 2005 E.coli O157 outbreak that claimed the life of
Mason Jones, 5, from Deri, near Bargoed, the FSA said a special group, the
Food Hygiene Delivery Programme Board, has been set up to push through the
changes that are needed.
A report put before FSA board members in London
stated “culture change in all of the relevant parts of the food supply
chain” is necessary.
Mason Jones’ mum Sharon Mills said she is pleased
with the action being taken by the FSA.
“This sounds promising and shows they are moving in
the right direction,” she said.
“The FSA has kept us informed about the improvements
it has made so far and what it is doing now, and although it may be slow,
at least we can see there is some movement now towards making things safer.
“Things are slowly changing and hopefully we will all
see the benefits sooner rather than later.”
But Ms Mills added that as the plans for change are
currently only on paper, she will keep a close watch on the FSA and other
enforcement bodies, including local authorities, to ensure the improvements
to food safety become a reality.
Professor Hugh Pennington’s report into the 2005
E.coli outbreak in the South Wales Valleys laid the blame firmly on the
shoulders of Bridgend butcher William Tudor, who supplied contaminated meat
But he also criticised the Meat Hygiene Service, part
of the FSA, for failing to carry out their duty in respect of conditions at
the JE Tudor & Sons abattoir, which supplied Tudor with meat – the
abattoir recorded the lowest ever hygiene scores in Britain and yet was
allowed to continue operating.
Prof Pennington also highlighted the actions of
Bridgend council’s environmental health officers who allowed William Tudor
to continue trading despite posing a risk to public health.