UK recalls French camembert in E-coli scare

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

A dangerous strain of E-coli is feared to have contaminated
camembert cheese sold by more than 100 British retailers, including
supermarket chain Waitrose, said the country's food watchdog late

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the cheeses, which come from France, may contain the pathogen E-coli 026 and were being withdrawn. It said the strain can cause severe food poisoning if eaten.

An FSA spokesperson said the recall was a "precautionary measure"​ after tests in France identified the unpasteurised camembert as a problem. It is thought the cheese may have given six children in northern France food poisoning at the start of this month.

The FSA said no contaminated camemberts had yet been found in the UK.

All batches of the following cheeses were affected: Reaux's Gaslonde Camembert (250g packs); Camembert de Normandie Th. Reaux (250g packs); Reaux's Gaslonde Camembert 1 kg (normally sold over the cheese counter).

All are made in France by Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d'Ay-Etablissement REAUX and are distributed in the UK by Anthony Rowcliffe & Son. The FSA said Rowcliffe had contacted all retailers involved and was arranging warning notices in shops and newspaper adverts.

The problem was flagged up in France on Friday by government health agency Institut de Veille Sanitaire (INVS), after tests on the ill children confirmed the presence of two E-Coli 026 strains.

INVS said it suspected a common source and the only one it had found was the unpasteurised camembert.

The producer involved has issued a general recall across France, including the Reo, Reaux, Laiterie du Val D'ay and le Gaslonde brands. Le Gaslonde unpasteurised butter was also recalled.

All the cheeses involved were unpasteurised, and this may re-ignite the on-going debate about the safety of such products. Australia only recently lifted its ban on France's unpasteurised Roquefort cheese after claiming for years it was unsafe.

The FSA said it was still too early to comment on this, though the watchdog warns on its website that "young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people who are ill should avoid unpasteurised milk"​.

No one at Rowcliffe was available for comment Tuesday morning.

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