Report published following inquiry into 2005 outbreak of E.coli in Wales
The report of the E.coli Public Inquiry, established to investigate the outbreak
of E.coli O157 in Wales in 2005, has been published today.
The outbreak – the largest ever incidence of E. coli O157 in Wales and
the second largest in the UK – affected more than 150 people, most of
whom were children in 44 schools across four local authority areas. Thirty-one
people were admitted to hospital and a five-year-old boy died.
In a statement issued today, The Food Standards Agency said:
"The report of the Public Inquiry is a comprehensive document and
the Agency will review it in detail. This issue will be discussed further
at the Agency's open Board meeting in April.
The National Assembly for Wales set up the inquiry to investigate the
causes of the outbreak. Its terms of reference were: ‘To inquire into
the circumstances that led to the outbreak of E.coli O157 infection in South
Wales in September 2005, and into the handling of the outbreak; and to consider
the implications for the future and make recommendations accordingly."
In its statement, the Agency added: 'Public health is the number one priority
of the Food Standards Agency and the Meat Hygiene Service. The Agency was established
in 2000 to protect consumers and we welcome any steps taken to support us in
this aim. Since 2000, cases of foodborne illness have dropped by almost 20%.
The Agency remains committed to continuing this work.
'The outbreak of E.coli in Wales in 2005 was a grave, but unusual, event and
the report of the independent Public Inquiry is valuable in understanding the
chain of events that led to the outbreak.
"Everyone involved in the production and distribution of food has
a role to play in ensuring food safety – from food producers to people
in their homes. When rare outbreaks such as this occur we must learn from
them and further strengthen our systems."