UACES Facebook Good food safety, sanitation practices can prevent illness at the fair
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Good food safety, sanitation practices can prevent illness at the fair

Sept. 21, 2018

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Handwashing key to preventing disease spread
  • Practice good sanitation between barn and meals

(275 words)

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.  – Livestock experts are urging county and state fair participants to use good food safety and sanitation practices after a Washington County teen fell ill from a kidney disease that can be caused by some E. coli bacteria. 

STATE FAIR -- Cattle in showbarns at Arkansas State Fair. 2016 file photo. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Ryan McGeeney)

The teen was showing lambs at the Washington County Fair and fell ill days later. Her parents said they thought she may have contracted it from cattle at the fair.

“Disease causing bacteria can occur anywhere in the environment, including the potential to be present at the fair,” said Fred Pohlman, professor-Animal Science for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

Infections from E. coli, the bacterial that lives in intestines, can occur through direct contact, but not through the air.

“Handwashing before handling food, not handling food directly after handling livestock, and not touching eyes, nose, mouth, or any mucus membranes after handling livestock can all go a long to preventing any number of infections,” Pohlman said.

For more about safe food handling, see “Foodborne Illness: Debunking the Myths”

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126