One Dead In E-Coli Outbreak Linked To Artisan Mrs Kirkham’s Cheese

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese, which is made from raw milk in Goosnargh, is the suspected source of an E. coli outbreak, which has resulted in the death of one person and 11 people being taken to hospital.  The victims are among 30 cases reported across the country, some involving children as young as seven – according to UK health and food watchdogs.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned that some people may have been given the cheeses unknowingly in festive Christmas hampers and charcuterie boards. The affected products can be sold as full blocks or individual portions. The artisan cheese is sold in Waitrose and other outlets. It is suspected that this cheese is the source of the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC), a rare strain of the diarrhoea-causing bug. Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese is made with raw milk, meaning it doesn’t go through the heating pasteurisation process that kills potentially harmful bugs.

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese was established in 1978 by Ruth and John Kirkham before they handed the making of the cheese to their son, Graham (pictured below). It is the last cheesemaker in Lancashire that uses raw milk.  The company, which has offices on Mill Lane in Preston, has issued recall notices for several products it believed may be affected. These are Smoked Lancashire, Mature Lancashire, Tasty Lancashire, and Mild and Creamy Lancashire.

The FSA has said, ‘Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd has taken the precautionary step of recalling various Lancashire Cheese products because the products might contain E. Coli.’ They added, ‘The cheeses are sometimes sold as a full block or served as individual portions, it may have been provided as part of a hamper you’ve purchased or been gifted. In some cases, it’s been sold as part of a charcutier grazing platter.’

The featured picture is for illustration only – and does not represent the cheeses recalled and linked to the outbreak.

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