CHEESE from a Bridgwater butchers has been seized and destroyed after it was discovered to have been packaged with the same equipment as raw meat.

Sedgemoor’s environmental health staff made the discovery while carrying out a routine food hygiene inspection at A I Foster’s, in St Marys Street, on January 15, 2014.

The cheese was being vacuum-packed on the same equipment used to package raw meat before being displayed for sale. It was seized over fears it could have been contaminated with E.coli 0157.

Sarah Dowden, from Sedgemoor District Council, said: “E.coli 0157, which can be present on any raw meat, is a particularly dangerous organism because a very small number of bacteria can cause illness.

“The illness can be very serious and in the worst cases can result in renal failure, which may be fatal or be associated with long-term complications such as kidney disease.”

An application was made to Taunton Magistrates Court by Sedgemoor’s Legal team for a condemnation order. Magistrates at Taunton Magistrates Court agreed the cheese failed to comply with food safety standards and made an order on January 22 for Sedgemoor District Council to destroy it.

In addition to the costs of destroying the cheese, the council was also awarded full costs claimed of over £600.

The Food Standards Agency stress that: “Under no circumstances should it be considered safe to use the same complex equipment, such as vacuum packing machines, slicers, mincers, etc, for both raw and ready-to-eat foods.”

Environmental Health staff will continue to work with the business owner to ensure the shop now complies with all food hygiene regulations.