safefood’s “Suzie Moo” launches kids' farm safety advice

Monday, 19 April 2004. safefood today introduced 'Suzie Moo' a welly-wearing cow who features in a campaign offering advice to children visiting zoos and open farms.

Suzie is the star of posters and leaflets produced to support the ‘Staying Safe Down on the Farm’ campaign. Suzie provides simple tips to primary school children on how to reduce the chances of contracting germs from the animals found on open farms, zoos and wildlife parks. It is estimated that over 725,000 children visit open farms, zoos and wildlife parks in Ireland every year and previous research has revealed that children are at risk of contracting food borne illnesses including E. coli 0157 from open farms٭.

Speaking at the launch today at City Farm, in Dublin Zoo, Martin Higgins, Chief Executive, safefood, said: “It is vitally important that children visiting open farms, zoos and wildlife parks, or even those children who live in a farming environment, are made aware of how they can stay safe when surrounded by animals carrying germs. We want children to enjoy these visits but to have fun and stay safe at the same time and they can do so by following Suzie Moo’s simple advice.”

safefood has worked with the North Eastern Zoonosis Committee to produce child-friendly posters that are now available in all open farms, zoos and wildlife parks throughout Ireland, north and south. The leaflets have also been distributed to schools, Environmental Health Officers, Health Promotion co-ordinators and Vets.”

Visiting open farms is a safe and fun thing to do but observing just a few simple precautions will enhance the experience. “Suzie Moo’s” key tips for ‘Staying Safe Down on the Farm’ are as follows:

Before your visit

  • Wear clothes that are right for being on a farm such as wellies or good strong shoes – not sandals
  • Make sure that any cuts or grazes are covered with waterproof dressings

Meeting the animals

  • Don’t kiss the animals or allow them to lick your face
  • Don’t suck your fingers or put anything you find in your mouth
  • When you’re with the animals or in the animal area, don’t eat or drink anything – and never eat animal food or pick up any food from the ground
  • Unless someone working on the farm gives you permission, don’t pick up any tools, such as spades or forks, and don’t touch any animal droppings
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and rinse in running water before leaving the animal area.
  • Bring moist towelettes to clean your hands if there is no water available

Feeding time – for you

  • Wash and dry your hands properly before you start to eat
  • Eat only in areas where you have been told it is ok to do so
  • Eat only food you have brought with you or food you have bought from a food shop on the farm
  • Don’t drink from any taps unless they are clearly marked that it is ok to drink from them
  • Don’t drink unpasteurised or raw milk

Before leaving

  • Make sure you put any rubbish in waste bins
  • Don’t leave any food lying around behind you – take it home or put it in waste bins
  • Make sure you clean your wellies or shoes and then wash and dry your hands properly before you leave the farm

For further information on this or any other related topic, please contact safefood on 1850 404 567

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For further information please contact

Amy Pilgrim or Nora Lawton
WHPR
Tel: 01-6690178 087-2613300/086-8292493

Claire Mac Evilly
safefood
Tel: 01-4480600

Editor’s Notes

٭Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Press release, April 2000.