EU takes UK to court over food hygieneDairy at centre of row closes down

13 October 2006

The European Commission has launched legal action against the UK government over its policing of food safety standards.

The action comes as the dairy at the centre of a hygiene row is set to close today with the loss of 26 jobs.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is accused of failing to enforce EU hygiene rules at the Bowland dairy in Lancashire. Last week, curd cheese exports from the dairy were banned by Brussels because of 'serious breaches' of EU rules.

The Commission took the unprecedented step after its investigators said the dairy used mouldy cheese and 'floor waste' to make its curd.

Damning report

The damning report said: 'There was evidence that raw milk containing antibiotic residues or contaminated with substances such as detergents and dyes was being used to make curd cheese, as was out-of-date milk collected from retail establishments.'

The dairy claimed it was the victim of a dispute between the Commission, the government and the FSA over EU requirements for antibiotic testing of milk.

The ban has been attacked for costing the village of Barrowford, Nelson, 26 jobs as the plant closes its doors today.

Bowland Director John Wright says he will take the Commission to court for damaging his business, even though he complied with the FSA's interpretation of the EU's food safety rules.