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Caithness News Bulletins December 2005

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Highland Council      
The Highland Council’s Environmental Health Officers are warning catering business and members of the public in the Highlands to be on the lookout for certain French cheese and butter products that have been identified as possibly being contaminated with harmful bacteria. The products are being withdrawn from sale because of concerns about possible contamination with E. coli O26. Some strains of E. coli O26 can cause severe food poisoning and people should not eat this cheese or butter.

Yesterday, the Food Standards Agency issued a warning about cheeses made in France by Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d’Ay-Etablissement REAUX.

The affected cheeses are:
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 batches of the above cheeses are affected including all use by dates.

The Food Standards Agency updated the information to include Camembert and Coulommiers cheeses sold under the Reo, Reaux, Laiterie du Val d’Ay and Le Gaslonde brand names. Le Gaslonde unpasteurised butter is also being withdrawn for the same reason

All products can be identified by the Health Mark 50.267.01 that appears on the product's packaging. All batches of the products with this Health Mark are affected, including all use-by dates, lot codes and pack sizes.

The dairy products are being imported directly into the UK and sold in a variety of retail outlets, possibly including farmers' markets or food fairs. Some of the cheeses may have been sold for slicing at delicatessens or specialist cheesemongers. Most retailers are supplied by Anthony Rowcliffe & Son Ltd who have contacted all the retailers to whom it supplies these cheeses.

In the Highland Area a very small quantity of the product was sold through Basil Deli, 17 Kingsmills Road, Inverness. The store has fully co-operated with Environmental Health and the product has been withdrawn from sale. Approximately 0.5 kg of Camembert Gaslonde was sold through the store last week.

Anyone who thinks they have bought one of these products should contact the retailer where they bought the product or their local environmental health office.

Alan Yates, Principal Food Safety Officer, said: "At the moment, only very small quantities have been shown to be in the Highlands. As a precaution, we would still advise caterers and members of the public to check if they have any of the identified cheeses or butter. Any found should not be used and should be returned to the shop where it was purchased. Alternatively, contact your local environmental health office."

Information on the warnings is available on the Food Standards Agency’s website http://www.food.gov.uk