The public have been warned by health officials not to drink the products after 18 people fell ill this month in Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley.
Barnsley Council and Public Health England said that the issue is potentially due to a problem with the pasteurisation process at the dairy, however the dairy has not confirmed the source of the E.coli and says tests have come back clear.
So far, of the 18 cases of E.coli identified nine are known to have consumed Darwin’s Dairy products. Those affected are currently recovering at home or in hospital.
A statement from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health at Barnsley Council and Dr Nachi Arunachalam, of PHE, said: “As a precautionary measure, we have advised Darwin’s Dairy to recall all milk, (whole milk, skimmed and semi-skimmed) and cream products currently in circulation.
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“This became necessary after a potential processing problem was identified with the pasteurisation process that could have affected some milk and cream products that could still be stored in people’s fridges.
“The dairy is co-operating fully with our advice. If you have bought these products, do not eat or drink them but dispose of them.
“Environmental Health Officers visited the dairy after Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber became aware of an increase in E.coli cases in South Yorkshire, though it is important to be aware that the dairy has not been confirmed as the source of the outbreak at this stage.”
Ben Darwin, who runs the dairy, said that environmental health officers have carried out two tests which have come back clear, and is waiting on the results of a third.
He also put out a statement on Facebook in response to Barnsley Council’s warning.
He wrote: “I would like to clarify that there is no confirmed link or evidence with the health issues highlighted in the councils statement it’s pure speculation and I am deeply upset and frustrated that such a statement can be released without sufficient evidence.
“We strive to supply our loyal customers with a quality local product that is regularly tested to the highest standards required.”
How can you identify the products affected?
The products that have been recalled can be identified by a ‘Darwin’s Dairy’ or ‘NP & DJ Darwin Ltd’ logo on the container.
Other identifiers include the wording ‘produced at Whitefield Farm, Oxspring, Barnsley’ or an oval mark bearing the following inside the oval ‘UK YB006 EC’.
What is E.coli?
E.coli can cause a serious infection in those with weakened immune systems or vulnerable groups, including babies, the elderly or pregnant women.
Symptoms of E.coli include stomach cramps and diarrhoea that may be bloody. These usually last up to a week.
Some infections can be severe and may be life-threatening.
Public Health England advice states: “As with all instances of diarrhoea and vomiting, it is important that people keep hydrated and stay away from work or school for as long as symptoms persist. If you do notice blood in your stool, contact your GP immediately.”