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Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese reiterates commitment to safe and delicious products as food warnings narrowed

Posted on - 12th February, 2024 - 4:57pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston Council, Preston News
Pic: Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire Cheese
Pic: Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese

A Preston business forced to undertake a precautionary product recall on Christmas Eve last year is now able to sell its products again.

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Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese, which supplies a number of supermarkets and artisan food suppliers, issued the product recall relating to an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in the UK.

The recall affected the business and customers at a busy time of year, with Mrs Kirkham’s earning praise from the Food Standards Agency for taking the action.

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Mrs Kirkham’s, in Goosnargh, has reiterated on numerous occasions since that they take food safety and hygiene very seriously. They are now able to continue marketing and selling their cheese – though some recall notices remain in place.

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Graham Kirkham said “The suspect pathogen is a member of a class of organisms (so-called ‘non-O157 STEC’) for which no accredited commercial tests are currently available, and this is an issue not just for raw milk cheesemakers, but other food suppliers as well.

“With this in mind, and because food safety is of the utmost importance to our business, we are working with the technical experts at the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association on a review of all our milk production and food safety management systems, making sure that even the smallest risk is identified and dealt with. We are committed to leading the industry in producing cheese that is both safe and delicious.” 

An update from the Food Standards Agency says that products that have been purchased on or up until February 5 are still subject to recall and should be returned to the point of purchase for a refund, or disposed of. They praised the extensive efforts of both Mrs Kirkham’s and Preston City Council in protecting consumers.

Tina Potter, Head of Incidents at the Food Standards Agency said: “In potential food safety issues like this, it’s vital action is taken quickly by the business to protect consumers. As a result of extensive efforts carried out by Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Ltd and Preston City Council, with support from multiple agencies, Mrs Kirkham’s have now been able to narrow down their product recall notice.     

“We will continue to support the Local Authorities and the business, who are actively working with us as part of our ongoing response to the outbreak. We do continue to urge consumers to check if they have any of these products and ensure they follow the advice and avoid eating any of the cheeses identified in the updated product recall information notice”.  

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If you did purchase products on or before February 5, the advice issued earlier remains valid. Do not eat the items and keep them wrapped and out of contact with other food. You can dispose of it at home rather than return it.

Bronwen Percival, the Chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association Technical Committee, said: “The Kirkhams’ production practices are excellent – in line with and often exceeding industry standards – which has been recognised since the beginning of the outbreak investigation by the FSA and Preston Local Authority. I’m impressed, but not surprised, by the Kirkhams’ dedication in the face of this challenge. They are leading the way for the rest of the cheese industry.”

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