E.coli O157 & Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

ICO decision notice in relation to the FOI request about a large E.coli O157 outbreak in 2022

4th June 2023

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) decision notice of the 2nd June 2023 about our request for information from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in relation to a large outbreak of E.coli O157, that appears to have started in late summer 2022.

This came after two stages of Freedom of information requests to the UKHSA proved un-successful.

The ICO under Section 22 of the FOI Act 2000 ruled in favour of the UKHSA.  (That information is exempt under Section 22 of the Act, states that public bodies are not obliged to disclose information that is intended for future publication).

They did however, rule in our favour that Section 10 of the FOI Act had not been complied with. (Section 10 of the FOIA requires a public authority to disclose non-exempt information within 20 working days of receiving a request).

In The UKHSA’s Revised Response letter of the 19th May 2023, prior to the ICO’s decision notice did say “the final report will be published on our website in 2 months’ time. When published the report will provide the requested information and further context and explanation. We can confirm that the final published IMT report will provide all the information that you originally requested, to a level of detail that will fully satisfy your Freedom of Information Request”. 

It will also be interesting to see if this report when published is put on their website as these reports are normally published in Journals where the authors views does not necessarily represent the UKHSA view although they may work for the UKHSA or other similar government bodies in a scientific role. 

We are not unhappy about the ICO’s decision notice, but are unhappy about those involved in the outbreak, as they appear not to have been kept informed by the UKHSA or the Food Standards Agency (FSA). 

The full ICO decision notice can be read in the Latest Consultation/Report section on our website.

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