Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Tuesday, 26 February 2008

E.coli butcher 'was allowed time'

Meat slicer at Tudor & Son
Pictures of conditions at Tudor's have been shown to the inquiry

A catering manager told the south Wales E.coli inquiry she felt she had to give a butcher a chance to rectify problems despite complaints about his products.

Norma Griffiths, of Bridgend Council, was responsible for one of the four counties which had a fatal E.coli outbreak from contaminated meat.

Bridgend butcher John Tudor's premises were the source of contamination in the 2005 outbreak, the inquiry has heard.

Ms Griffiths said she gave the firm the summer holidays to sort things out.

The outbreak, which claimed the life of five-year-old Mason Jones, from Deri, near Bargoed, and affected 150 others, many of them children, began in September 2005.

The inquiry has also heard details of some of the complaints about Tudor's premises, including one over a joint of pork which had bad meat hidden in the middle.

A school cook said she felt gristly and fatty meat had been intentionally hidden and that the joint was "disgusting", but no action was taken before the summer school holidays began.

William Tudor
William Tudor's premises were the source of the fatal outbreak

On Monday, an environmental health officer defended a decision to allow the butcher to continue using a single meat-packing machine.

Angela Coles said she had some concerns over the machine being used for cooked and uncooked meat when she inspected the premises.

But she said: "From a cleanliness point of view, I didn't think it was that bad."

She was told that the second machine was being repaired and would be back within a week.

She said she was satisfied the one in use was being cleaned and disinfected properly.

The E.coli outbreak affected 44 schools across south Wales, making it the largest outbreak of its kind in Wales, and the second biggest in the UK.

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