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Report released on E coli farm

15th June 2010

Experts have stated that more safety measures should be put in place to ensure visitors are protected when they go to children's farms.

Bacteria

The declaration was made at an independent inquiry into an outbreak of E coli at a Surrey farm in 2009 which infected over 90 people.

The inquiry said that the UK's largest ever outbreak of the O157 strain of the bug at the Godstone Farm was due in part to public safety being "neglected".

The panel, chaired by University of London infection expert Professor George Griffin, said the farm's safety precautions were "inadequate" due to the fact that they were reliant on people who visited cleaning their hands. 

The panel said that the outbreak could have been prevented if the farm had ensured visitors were not close to animal waste.

The inquiry also criticised the reaction of officials at the Health Protection Agency and the local council.

The panel said the bug could have only infected 33 people if the authorities had been quicker to act and closed the farm.

Professor Griffin said there had been a "lack of leadership" during the outbreak.

"In the context of what happened at Godstone, a new framework for the future which is explicit and unambiguous is clearly needed," he added.

Justin McCracken, head of the HPA, said he was "very sorry" and added: "I am determined that the HPA will work with the other bodies to prevent a similar situation developing in the future."

 

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