Inquiry into food poisoning outbreak in Wales says lessons weren’t learnt from past incidents

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 23 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1220
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. 1Abergavenny

    Hygiene inspections of food premises must be unannounced, and light touch enforcement needs to be closely monitored, concludes an independent report into one of Britain’s biggest food poisoning outbreaks.

    The report into the country’s second largest food poisoning outbreak caused by Escherichia coli O157, in September 2005, highlights a series of system failures, missed clues, and ineffective enforcement action. In the outbreak in the South Wales valleys a 5 year old boy died and 31 people were hospitalised.

    Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, who chaired the inquiry and who also led the review into the E coli O157 outbreak in Scotland in 1996, said, “I had hoped that the lessons from the shocking events in 1996 would stay in people’s minds.

    “But comparison of the failures that led to this outbreak …

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