If you value food and where it comes from and the people who make it, then this Christmas please set a little aside to help make sure that you can continue to be able to do this. We have a very serious battle on our hands and only we can sort it.

A number of years ago, 1995 in fact, many of you will remember the well known cheese Lanark Blue was implicated by Clydesdale District Council as being responsible for an outbreak of food poisoning, and only with the testimony of expert scientists and food safety consultants, and the intervention of a number people including the Prince of Wales were the makers of the cheese – the Errington family exonerated but only after an horrific experience of closure and a huge loss of business.

Lo and behold the same public health official has reappeared making a similar accusation of E.coli pathogens in the cheese, in an outbreak which this time has claimed the life of a young girl. Now I am the first to make sure that our food does not harm people but closures and destroying a business must only occur when real evidence is found. Sadly Public health officials acting at the behest of Lanark council backed by the Food Standards Scotland, a quango paid for by us, has not done its work properly. It appears to have acted on poor science and bias.
FSS has admitted that it had acted unlawfully in ordering Errington cheese to be destroyed.

FSS insists that their scientists have found the pathogenic E.coli strain in some Errington cheeses. This has been countered by independent scientists notably the most respected European lab based in Switzerland. Even the UK’s leading authority on E.coli Professor Sir Hugh Pennington, has accused the FSS of draconian action. It gets worse, The FSS had assumed, like so many small business might, the Erringtons would simply lie down and go away, The FSS you see, has long had a vendetta against raw milk products. I know this from personal experience, but they had not allowed for the determination of the Erringtons. If anyone thinks they are going to allow the same public official who made false allegations 20 years ago do it again, then the FSS has another think coming. The Errington family are now fighting a major legal battle against the FSS’s actions. In an admission of fault the FSS agreed to pay the Errington family’s costs for the initial court action -a judicial review. But it would appear that the FSS hoped that this might stop its own faulty evidence being tested in court. So further court action is absolutely necessary to expose the negligence and bias of the FSS. This is why Joanna Blythman the well know food writer and journalist has started a crowd funding campaign to raise £50 k to support the Erringtons legal battle.

Make no mistake this is not just about a small cheese company, this is about bias at the highest level of the FSS. It is a government body paid for by us to serve us and should not be run by people who are biased and do not consider food quality in what they do. The great irony is that Scotland rests its reputation on good quality food and here is a government body hell bent on destroying it!

Please support the crowd funding and write to your MSP. This government must look long and hard at the people who run the FSS and make some major changes

This Christmas put a Scottish Cheese on your board but please add at least £10 to the fund to make sure that you can continue to buy and enjoy quality Scottish food.


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Christopher Trotter – Chef, Writer, Food critic, Speaker