News & Updates
News and Updates
Friday 9th February 2024
Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese is back on Sale
Last Christmas Eve an emergency precautionary recall was made on many of the cheeses produced on the Kirkham family farm in Goosnargh, Lancashire. The recall concerned a potential risk to health from Shiga-toxin producing E. coli.
Since then, the Kirkham family have been working closely with Preston Local Authority and the FSA.
As of 5th February:
Mrs Kirkham’s Mild & Creamy Lancashire
Mrs Kirkham’s Tasty Lancashire
Mrs Kirkham’s Mature Lancashire
Mrs Kirkham’s Smoked Lancashire
Are all available for sale. The family is also working with its wholesale customers to determine which of the cheeses they may still have in stock from before the precautionary recall took place which may be released for sale.
Over 40 samples cheese & Milk made by Kirkham’s over a full a five-month time period have been tested since the investigation began and none showed evidence of the outbreak strain of the suspect pathogen.
The family are grateful to the officers from their local council, the FSA’s incident investigation team, and the representatives from government agencies including the Animal and Plan Health Agency (APHA) who have worked alongside them during the investigation.
Graham Kirkham said “The suspect pathogen is a member of a class of organisms (so-called ‘non-O157 STEC’) for which no accredited commercial tests are currently available, this is an issue not just for raw milk cheesemakers, but other food suppliers as well. With this in mind, and because food safety is of the utmost importance to our business, we are working with the technical experts at the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association on a review of all our milk production and food safety management systems, making sure that even the smallest risk is identified and dealt with. We are committed to leading the industry in producing cheese that is both safe and delicious.”
Bronwen Percival, the Chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association Technical Committee, said, “The Kirkhams’ production practices are excellent – in line with and often exceeding industry standards – which has been recognised since the beginning of the outbreak investigation by the FSA and Preston Local Authority. I’m impressed, but not surprised, by the Kirkhams’ dedication in the face of this challenge. They are leading the way for the rest of the cheese industry.”
David Lockwood of Neal’s Yard Dairy, which has championed British artisan cheeses over four decades, said, “We’ve worked with the Kirkhams for over 30 years and know first-hand the work they do to ensure their cheese is safe and delicious. Every day we have customers asking after the Kirkhams, looking forward to the return of their Lancashire. We are delighted to have it back on the counter again.”
Andy Swinscoe, co-owner of multi-award-winning The Courtyard Dairy at Settle has long been a champion of Kirkham’s Lancashire, and is excited that it is now available for sale again: “Kirkham’s Lancashire has been a mainstay of the very finest cheese shops and restaurants for generations, not only here in England, but all over the world,” he said. “I look forward to having this safe, tried-and-trusted, and delicious product back on our cheese counter. I offer all my support to Graham Kirkham and his family to as they recommence making and selling their amazing farmhouse cheese again, and I am excited to continue to champion this truly great traditional British cheese.”
Graham is overjoyed that the family farm can restart production: “In 1939 there were 202 farms making cheese in the county of Lancashire,” he said, “but today our family farm is the only remaining producer of raw-milk, farmhouse Lancashire cheese. We are so very grateful to our customers and the community for their support, and we look forward to making cheese of the highest quality for many years to come.”