Media: Hit or Miss - Godstone Farm under media spotlight after E.coli outbreak

Farm furore: The owners of Godstone Farm in Surrey and the Health Protection Agency found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week when it emerged 18,000 people may have been exposed to an outbreak of E.coli.

At the time of going to press 36 people had been taken ill, including 12 children. Four of the children are in a serious condition. Parents have been asking why the attraction was not closed as soon as the outbreak hit.

HOW I SEE IT - STEVE DUNNE, CHAIRMAN, BRIGHTER PR

The owners of Godstone Farm have been badly advised from a PR perspective. There can be an argument in favour of not rushing into announcements and closures. But when it comes to health, and where children are involved, that is just not a viable option.

Now it has emerged the outbreak started in August and could affect 50,000 people. To say that they took 'reasonable measures' at the time of discovery makes the HPA and the farm owners look inept and less than honest.

The key now is to show what they intend to do and to explain what they have done to rectify the position. More importantly, they will have to get their story and key messages across when the news cycle has moved on - otherwise the reputation of this farm is shot forever - MISS.

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