Wales

E. coli victim Mason Jones' mother Sharon Mills wins Tesco Mum of the Year

Mason Jones and Sharon Mills
Image caption Mason Jones' mother Sharon Mills has been recognised for her campaign to improve food safety.

A mother whose five-year-old son died in Wales' largest E. coli outbreak has won an award for improving food safety.

Sharon Mills was named Tesco Campaigning Mum of the Year for her work leading to a "scores on the doors" system forcing Welsh restaurants and takeaways to display hygiene ratings.

Mason Jones, from Deri, near Bargoed, Rhymney Valley, died in 2005.

Helen Wynne, from Wrexham, also won one of the Tesco awards for setting up a special needs child-minding service.

Miss Mills told BBC Wales she was proud of what she and her family had achieved.

'Tragic consequences'

"Food safety has improved significantly since the outbreak. It's a huge achievement for us," she said.

"I'm mostly proud of my son. Without the tragic consequences this would not have been achieved."

A further 157 people, mostly children, became ill during the outbreak.

A butcher was prosecuted for breaking food safety laws and was jailed for a year in 2007.

He supplied meat to another 44 other schools in the south Wales valleys.

Miss Mills won the Campaigning Mum of the Year for her work following the tragedy

The "scores on the doors" hygiene grading scheme enables people to see if a food outlet's standards are below par.

Miss Mills worked closely with the Food Standards Agency and Consumer Focus Wales to make the improvements.

Consultation ends in March on the Food Hygiene (Wales) Bill, which will make it compulsory for food businesses in Wales to display information on their hygiene standards by late 2013.

Liz Jarvis, from Tesco, who made the award, said Miss Mills was an "incredible campaigner" and a "fantastic mum".

The judging panel included choreographer Arlene Philips and Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis.

Miss Mills will be presented with her award at a ceremony in London in March.

More on this story