Safety on the Farm
Just To Be On The Safe Side.......
After outbreaks of e-coli in September 2009 on five farms in Devon, Surrey, North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire which left several children seriously ill, the Health Protection Agency carried out an investigation led by Professor George Griffin. The findings of this 250-page report were made public last week.
We do not wish to alarm any visitors – old or new – but it is crucial that we all take responsibility for our own actions both at the farm and on returning home to ensure that everyone stays safe.
In order to prevent an outbreak ever happening at Blaze Farm we have put a number of changes in place, one of which is to make our visitors more aware of the potential risks about them and we have put up further information boards around the farm to this effect.
It is ultimately the parent/carer’s decision to allow children to have animal contact and the responsibility of this action should be understood.
Below are a view points of relevance taken from the Griffin Reports findings and we recommend that all visitors take the time to read this information.
For full details on the Griffin Report see: www.griffininvestigation.org.uk
Parents of children visiting Farms should clearly understand that:
- Touching or feeding farm animals can be a source of life-threatening infection particularly in young children,
- The only way to eliminate this risk entirely is for children to avoid contact with animals and their faeces,
- It is the parent or carer’s choice whether their child is allowed to touch or feed the animals,
- It is primarily the parent or carer’s responsibility to supervise the washing of their children’s hands immediately after leaving the animal contact area, before eating or drinking on the farm and after removing footwear,
- Sanitising hand gels do not provide adequate protection alone. They are not a substitute for thorough handwashing but can be of value if used as an additional measure.
The risk of infection caused by E.coli 0157:
- E.coli 0157 is frequently carried by animals especially cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminants,
- Infection by E.coli 0157 may arise from contaminated food, water, from direct contact with animals or their environments,
- Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable - deaths have occurred from infection by E.coli 0157,
- Infection from E.coli 0157 may be reduced when visiting the countryside or agricultural environments by avoiding any contact with animal faecal matter and by ensuring that good hygiene practices are in place and followed.