Authorities criticised for E Coli Outbreak

The QC representing the families at the South Wales E.coli outbreak inquiry has said there was a systematic failure by local regulatory agencies to pick up on a "rogue trader".

Mark Powell QC was summing up on the last day of the public inquiry into the 2005 E.coli outbreak, during which one child died and 150 other schoolchildren were seriously affected.

Butcher William Tudor, who had supplied the meat to schools in the area, was later jailed for breaches of the hygiene regulations.

As part of his closing address, Powell said: "In South Wales, in 2005, a child died and 150 other people were directly affected because of systematic failures of the regulatory authorities to prevent a rogue trader from selling contaminated meat.

"It is the belief of the families that William Tudor was allowed to behave in the way he did because most of the agencies charged with responsibility to prevent such behaviour, failed to do so."

Powell went on to say that many of the faults identified by the inquiry into the Wishaw outbreak in Scotland in 1996, involving butcher John Barr, were repeated again in South Wales in 2005.

"It is galling to the families that many of the observations of the sheriff's inquiry could substitute the name Tudor for Barr - it could be written about the 2005 outbreak.

"Bridgend Council fell into the same errors in their inspections as North Lanarkshire Council did 10 years ago.

"In terms of the purchase of food, the local authorities got what they paid for - the emphasis on price meant that food safety was compromised by the procurement procedure."

Anthony Vines, representing Bridgend Council, said that health officers had acted responsibly and conscientiously but may have been deceived by Tudor.

Professor Hugh Pennington, the inquiry's chairman will now deliver his findings.