End of the road for firm at centre of S.Wales' worst E. coli outbreak

THE SOUTH WALES business at the heart of the E coli outbreak in South Wales last year has closed its doors for the final time. John Tudor & Son of Bridgend, which supplies meat to more than 40 schools in the area, has laid off all staff.

THE SOUTH WALES business at the heart of the E coli outbreak in South Wales last year has closed its doors for the final time. John Tudor & Son of Bridgend, which supplies meat to more than 40 schools in the area, has laid off all staff.

The outbreak infected 158 people and led to the death of a five year old boy. John Tudor was ordered to close after the outbreak but later reopened.

However, a loss of school and care home contracts affected the business.

The outbreak was one of the UK's largest lasting four months from mid September last year.

Investigations by a series of investigative bodies are still under way to find the precise cause of the outbreak.

Additionally, a police investigation is still on going into the death of five year old Mason Williams, the only fatality of the outbreak.

Of the reviews concluded so far, the one by David Salter the Acting Chief Medical Officer for Wales, has made a series of recommendations. These recommendations cover areas such as reviewing new and existing food legislation and guidance about how often food premises should be inspected.

However, due to the ongoing police investigation, health investigators have not been allowed full access to the Outbreak Control Team and members of the Food Standards Agency, meaning that the definitive account of the outbreak will have to wait until the police investigation is concluded.

Welsh Assembly Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons commented: "This is why we decided to take a two or three-track approach - we needed to get early recommendations to take action without compromising the enforcement agencies' ability to do their jobs."

As to John Tudor, the company was told shortly after the outbreak began that it must cease trading following an inspection of the premises.

An emergency prohibition notice granted at the time said there were concerns over that the company's "vac packing" process might cause a risk of cross-contamination between raw and cooked food.

However the firm was later able to re open following an application to the courts and further inspections.

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