September 19, 2009

E. coli outbreak closes four British farms

E. coli outbreaks linked to petting farms warrant review of guidelines involving children and animals, a British bacteriologist said.

We have to look very, very seriously at the guidelines that we have been running for many years and see if they need changing, Hugh Pennington, Britain's foremost specialist on E. coli, told the BBC in a story aired Saturday.

Penning said he was not terribly happy that children under age 5 were allowed to touch lambs, calves, goats and other animals at petting farms, where they could encounter E. coli bacteria through animal feces.

The World of Country Life petting farm in Exmouth, Devon, closed this week after three cases of E. coli in children were linked to the farm. Forty-nine cases of E. coli closed Surrey's Godstone Farm last week, along with its sister farm, Horton Park Children's Farm in Epsom, The Times of London reported Saturday.

The White Post Farm at Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, closed recently after four cases were linked to the farm, Sky News reported Saturday.