Legionnaires' legacy

We are seeing a numerous court cases over Legionnaires' disease in our industry, mainly due to a lack of basic checking, and we need to be more proactive, especially in these difficult times.

But it is also important to keep things in perspective and deal with the facts, rather than speculation For example one myth says the source of Legionnaires' disease is only from cooling towers and air conditioning towers, whereas in fact, domestic hot and cold water systems account for as many, if not more cases and spa baths and jacuzzis are a close second source of the disease.

Legionnaire's Disease is normally contracted through inhaling the Legionella bacterium in tiny droplets of water (aerosols) such as showers, steam rooms and whirlpools. The incubation period is between two to 10 days and not everyone exposed will develop the full-blown disease but may suffer mild flu-like symptoms.

Control legislation has changed over the past 30 years, so it is important to seek guidance on the disease. The Approved Code of Practice and the Approved Guidance has recently been updated by the Health & Safety Commission to the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L8 - Legionnaires' disease: the control of legionella bacteria in water systems.

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) can also supply general guidance. John Roberts has worked in the food industry for over 30 years, latterly with Anglo Beef Processors, for over 13 years, heading up group engineering in the UK & Ireland.reaphltd@yahoo.co.uk

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