- Cheesemaker Errington Cheese has welcomed the return of two long-time staff members who were laid off earlier this year, as the family company recovers from successfully defending a costly legal dispute with South Lanarkshire Council
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In early December the small producer received a payment of £254,000 from the council in compensation for cheese which was seized in 2016 and destroyed after a well-publicised claim that the cheese was linked to an outbreak of E.coli 0157 – a claim strongly refuted by the company based on advice from experts in the fields of microbiology and epidemiology.
The company was cleared of breaching food hygiene regulations in October, and won a judicial review stating that all batches of cheese were safely produced and safe to eat.
Now, the family have been able to reemploy head cheesemaker Angela Cairns, who is part of the family which owns and runs the business. Angela joined Errington Cheese in 2010 after returning to her native Scotland after spending several years living in New Zealand.
Paul McAllister joined Errington in 2013 and has returned to work alongside Angela as a cheesemaker, as the business looks to the future and concentrates on increasing its stock.
The appointments come after the cheese producer won three awards at the World Cheese Awards last month. Errington’s Corra Linn was awarded two gold medals, while the first batch of its new Dunsyre Blue, made with raw organic milk, was given a silver award.
Selina Cairns, director at Errington Cheese, was also named Person of the Year at the Slow Food Awards, while the company’s Lanark Blue Cheese was awarded Champion Slow Food Product.
Angela Cairns said, “I’m very happy to be back at Errington, working with my family to do what I love. It has been a long road over the last two years, but we remain determined and focused on rebuilding the business and continuing to produce award-winning cheese.”
Selina Cairns, director at Errington Cheese said, “We have always been focused on doing what we do best, sustainably producing delicious, hand-made artisan cheese. Although the payment we have received from South Lanarkshire does not cover the decline in our sales, or the legal fees we have incurred in order to be cleared of any wrongdoing, it is a testament to our determination to clear the business’s name, and represents an acknowledgement that the council’s confiscation of our product was wrong.
“The reemployment of Angela and Paul is a great achievement and something we have been working towards for several months. It will no doubt help us on our journey to increase our production and sales.”