Second children's farm closed over E.coli

A second petting farm has closed following an E.coli outbreak that left 14 children ill in hospital.

The closure of Horton Park Children's Farm, in Epsom, Surrey, over hygiene concerns follows that of sister farm Godstone Farm, also in Surrey.

The total number of cases linked to the Godstone Farm outbreak now stands at 40, with four of the children in hospital described as seriously ill. Of the other children, seven are in a stable condition and three are improving.

A Health Protection Agency (HPA) spokeswoman said it was not aware of any cases of E.coli O157 linked to Horton Park Children's Farm, but added: "The hygiene arrangements were found to be unsatisfactory and the HPA advised the local authority that the farm should be closed immediately while these defects were rectified."

The farm agreed to shut voluntarily, she added.

The parents of the illest children have been given an apology by the HPA for delays in closing Godstone Farm. An independent investigation has been commissioned.

Justin McCracken, head of the HPA, apologised personally for the handling of the situation.

Initially, the agency said the first E.coli case came to light on August 27, but a subsequent investigation discovered two cases reported 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."

Tracy Mock, the mother of two-year-old twin boys Aaron and Todd Furnell who are ill in St Thomas' Hospital in central London, said she was pleased the apology had been made.

She added: "But the fact remains that the farm should not have been open when my guys went there after there had been earlier reports of people being ill with E.coli."



A spokeswoman for Horton Park Children's Farm said the decision to close the farm yesterday evening was made because of the perceived "slight risk" of more children contracting E.coli.

In a statement, she said: "Horton Park Children's Farm has decided that, owning to concerns expressed by us and others, and due to the slight risk to our customers of the chance of the disease, the farm will close as a temporary measure until we and others are satisfied that everything in our power has been done to eliminate or reduce any potential risk to our customers and friends.

"I must impress that Horton Park Farm has no suspected or actual cases of E.coli and that this is a preventative measure taken by us to safeguard all our friends and customers.

"Our thoughts at this time are with the children and family and friends of all the people who are ill or suffering because of this unfortunate outbreak of E.coli.

"It is for this reason that we have decided to close until the source can be positively identified.

"We are closely in touch with the environmental health team locally and the Health Protection Agency."

The farm, which has the same owners as Godstone Farm, offers children the chance to stroke and feed animals including goats, rabbits and piglets.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high