EU bans sale of food from UK dairy in hygiene row

Food from a Lancashire dairy has been banned from sale across Europe after it was found to contain out-of-date ingredients, milk with traces of detergent and dyes, and mouldy and contaminated cheese including "floor waste".

So grave were the food safety breaches unearthed by EU inspectors during a visit in June that the entire UK dairy sector now faces a special inspection in November. Launching an unprecedented crackdown on the firm, the European Commission also threatened to take the UK authorities to court for their "lack of action" over the case.

Yesterday food safety experts from across the EU agreed to ban all curd cheese produced by Bowland Dairy in Nelson, Lancashire, from their markets.

The ban results from a series of problems identified by the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission.

In a statement the European Commission 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residues or contaminated with substances such as detergents and dyes was being used to make curd cheese, as was out-of-date milk collected from retail establishments."

It added: "Bowland was also using mouldy and contaminated cheese - including 'floor-waste' - to vacuum-pack for sale."

Bowland Dairy said it had been, "the unfortunate victim of an ongoing dispute between the European Commission, UK authorities and the Food Standards Agency, on the interpretation of EU food safety regulations".

The company refuted the Commission's allegations and plans to challenge the decision before the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.