The mother of a five-year-old boy who died during Wales’ largest E.coli outbreak has told an inquest that he was killed by his school dinners.
Mason Jones became ill after eating contaminated gammon and turkey at his school canteen in Caerphilly.
He normally took packed lunches but had switched to dinners just two weeks before.
Today his mother Sharon Mills described how the illness “utterly destroyed” her son.
She recalled picking Mason up from school when he first became ill. How over the following days his condition deteriorated, that he began ‘hallucinating’ and ‘sweating like a shower.’
As his condition worsened, Mason was admitted to hospital and moved to intensive care. Shortly afterwards he died.
Todays inquest also heard more detail about the investigation of John Tudor and son, the source of the outbreak. It was a business that supplied primary schools across South Wales. A place where food handling practices were not only poor but dangerous and where there was little regard for food safety and more of an emphasis on making money.
Detective superintendent Paul Burke told the inquest the children affected had eaten meat supplied by Tudor’s factory in Bridgend, south Wales.
He said: “There was no other common feature – they were all in a school environment and had eaten school dinners.
“There was a common supplier of meat, which was Tudor and Son. Cooked meat is at risk of being contaminated from raw meat if the two are stored in the same facility.
“Tudor would have known through his training that he was acting in a manner which could have serious consequences. He would have been fully aware of the risks.”
The inquest heard many of Tudor’s staff had not received proper hygiene training and cleaning records were not completed.
One vacuum packer was used for packaging raw and cooked meats supplied to schools and care homes across south Wales ahead of the 2005 outbreak which caused more than 150 people to become seriously ill.
The inquest continues.