E coli in the UK countryside: whose problem is it?

Reducing the risks of catching E. coli O157 in the countryside is everyone’s problem, but it’s someone else’s problem according to individuals questioned by researchers.

In one-to-one interviews conducted by the Research Councils UK Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (RELU), researchers found that people believed others should do more to reduce the risk of infection. While farmers thought that abattoirs should do more to prevent outbreaks, abattoir owners said that farmers should do more through better cleaning of livestock before slaughter, and butchers claimed that meat inspectors could be more effective.

In a survey of over two thousand rural residents and visitors, around 45 per cent of all respondents thought that health authorities as well as central and local government should be taking more action to protect the public. But the researchers say that E. coli O157 infection isn’t a problem that is easily solved, and the most effective way of addressing it would be for everyone to adopt behaviors and strategies to reduce risks.

It’s that farm-to-fork thing.

Laws don’t make food safe, people do

A new state law in South Dakota has state regulators adding new requirements to help ensure safety at local farmers markets.

After taking effect July 1, local food vendors that work out of their home kitchens and not commercial kitchens will now have to label their products with ingredients, contact information and submit their recipes for testing to help ensure better safety.

State Representative Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City, the prime sponsor of the bill that became law, said,

"In this day in age with looking at food safety and allergies, we want to protect producers and consumers. I know it’s a little more work, but in the long run it would be worth it if there were people who got sick."

Joan Hegerfeld-Baker, an Extension food safety specialist in Brookings, said,

"There are a lot of people who really haven’t learned properly. There are shortcuts people are starting to use that are not safe. You want people to use safe, tested methods."