Whisky distillery closes cooling towers after legionnaires warning

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scotch whisky

The source of the Legionnaires' outbreak may never be traced
The source of the Legionnaires' outbreak may never be traced
The North British Distillery in Edinburgh, one of the largest Scotch grain whisky producers in Scoland, has closed its cooling towers after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served an improvement notice for alleged failures to control the risk of legionella.

The hunt for the outbreak of legionnaires' disease – which has now risen to 82 confirmed cases – has focused on distillery. But there’s no conclusive proof that its cooling towers are the source of the disease.

“Issuing the improvement notice does not mean that this cooling tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak,” ​said the HSE. “The source of the outbreak may never be conclusively identified, based on our experience from previous outbreaks.”

Out of operation

The improvement notice referred to one cooling tower at the distillery’s Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh site. But the firm decided to take all three cooling towers out of operation.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “All those​ [patients] involved are responding extremely well and the Health and Safety Executive continues to make significant progress in its investigation to identify the source of this outbreak.”

Sturgeon added that the improvement notice did not mean the HSE believed there was an immediate threat to workers at the distillery.

One man has died in the outbreak.

Related news

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast