The Health Protection Agency set up a Multi-Agency Committee in June 2010, to take forward the recommendations of Professor George Griffin’s Independent Investigation* into the major outbreak of E.coli O157 at Godstone Farm in Surrey in 2009.
On behalf of the Committee, we are writing to alert you to the recent publication of revised guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a new public information leaflet from the Health Protection Agency, Department of Health and Defra.
A key recommendation of Professor Griffin’s report was that current guidance for the industry on human health and safety be updated. HSE’s new guidance, aimed at helping owners and managers of farm attractions, describes the measures they need to take to protect visitors and staff from illness, and includes a supplement for teachers and others who organise visits for children. The updated leaflet provides advice for the public on how to enjoy farm visits safely.
HSE information sheet - Preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attractions: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais23.pdf
HPA/DH/Defra public information leaflet – Avoiding infections on farm visits: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1270122184581
We are very pleased to be able to share these updated materials with you and strongly recommended that you make use of the new guidance, which includes recommendations to help you reduce the risk of visitors picking up infections from animals during visits to your establishment.
The supplement for teachers and others who organise visits for children provides the information they need to help them make sure children do not become ill as a result of visits, and should be made available by you when arrangements to visit are being made.
Information for the public on how to avoid infections from farm visits should be available to all visitors and distributing our leaflet is a way of doing this. We have designed the leaflet so that it can easily be reproduced.
A number of agencies collaborated to pull together this advice and we are grateful for their efforts. We will write again in the coming weeks with information about a signage toolkit and multi-media resource that is being developed together with the industry.
In the meantime we wish you a happy and prosperous Easter break.
Dr Ruth Gelletlie, Health Protection Agency
Bill Graham, Farming and Countryside Education/Andrew Woolf, National Farm Attractions Network/Peter Garbutt, National Farmers Union
*Visit the Griffin Investigation website for more information about the review of the major outbreak of E. coli O157 in Surrey, 2009: http://www.griffininvestigation.org.uk/