§ Dr. David Clark
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he is investigating the source of the outbreak of food poisoning caused by E. coli in the Preston area; what other action he is taking in respect of this; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Dorrell
This outbreak is the subject of ongoing investigation by the public health laboratory service. The Department's Chief Medical Officer has issued a statement about the need for beefburgers and similar minced meat products to be thoroughly cooked before they are eaten. All local authority environmental health departments were notified of the outbreak and asked, through the Department's hazard warning system, to remind food businesses of the need to ensure beefburgers are properly cooked. Both the CMO's statement and the hazard warning notice have been placed in the Library.
The Government will consider the need for additional action in the light of the PHLS findings on the outbreak and other cases of human illness due to E.coli 0157 phage type 31 (variant) which have been reported around the country.