Babies and children * Young people * Healthy living

Second petting farm closes

stock photo of a farm Hygiene arrangements unsatisfactory

A second farm linked to Godstone Farm in Surrey - site of the recent E.coli outbreak - has also closed its doors to the public.

Horton Park Children’s Farm in Epsom, Surrey is the sister farm of Godstone Farm. It voluntarily closed after its hygiene arrangements were found to be unsatisfactory during an inspection by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). No cases of E.coli linked to this farm have been reported.

So far the total number of cases of E. coli 0157 linked to Godstone Farm stands at 45. As a result of the outbreak, twelve children are still being treated in hospital with four seriously ill. Six of the children have been reported as being in a stable condition and two are improving.

Justin McCracken, Chief Executive of the HPA, personally phoned the parents of the children most seriously affected by the outbreak to apologise for the delays in how it was handled.

Initially, the HPA said the first cases had been brought to their attention on 27th August, but later admitted that two cases had been reported in the previous week.

Mr McCracken said: "If this information had been taken into account on August 27, then the advice given and the steps taken on September 3 would have been introduced earlier and the farm might have been closed earlier."

"I wanted to speak personally to the parents of those children who are most seriously ill in hospital to explain what has happened and, however inadequate under the circumstances, to apologise."

He also added that an independent investigation into all aspects of the outbreak would be carried out.

This article was published on Thu 17 September 2009



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