Butcher's shop closure drags on despite talks

The Leeds butcher's shop at the centre of an E coli food poisoning outbreak is still closed to the public.

The Leeds butcher's shop at the centre of an E coli food poisoning outbreak is still closed to the public, after a meeting last Friday between environmental health officers and the Health Protection Agency did not give the owner permission to reopen.

Todd's pork and beef butcher's shop in Armley has been closed since tests on 8 July confirmed cooked meats originating from the shop had caused food poisoning in some of the 34 victims. Bill Monroe, who owns the business, had expected to have the shop up and running by Monday, 31 July after swab tests were taken the week before.

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said the shop is still shut and legal action may follow: "No decision has been made on prosecution. The environmental health department is continuing to investigate this incident."

On 20 July Todd's stall in Kirkgate market reopened, but is not selling any products from the shop, which has ceased production.

Before opening, the market stall was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and swabs were taken for analysis, which proved negative for E coli. Environmental health made a comprehensive examination of food hygiene practices and gave staff training in cleansing, food storage and food handling.

Bill said the last few weeks have been a stressful time and he is keen to get his shop open and his business back to normal: "I've got no idea if people will come back to us. People say 'give us a call when you're back and up and running' so when we give them a call we'll find out."

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