The owners of Tapnell Farm Park say they are getting back to business following inaccurate media reports that the tourist attraction was linked to a case of E-coli, discovered in a young Hampshire girl who had recently holidayed on the Isle of Wight.
Public Health England (PHE) issued a press release last Friday which clearly stated that ‘the investigation into the source of the infection is ongoing with no evidence to link the infection to a source on the Isle of Wight at the current time’.
Despite the statement, Tapnell Farm Park became the focus of reports in some local and national media, but not the IW Observer, that were so damaging PHE issued a further statement confirming that all evidence currently suggests the infection was caused by infected food and not related to Tapnell Farm Park.
The statement read: “PHE South East continues to work closely with the Isle of Wight Council’s environmental health team to investigate the source of this infection. While it is not currently possible to definitively confirm the source, all the available evidence points to this case being food borne rather than from a farm setting. Although farms and petting zoos can be a source of E.coli infection, in this instance there is no suggestion from the evidence that is the case.”
In a joint statement, Tom Turney and Tom Honeyman Brown, owners of Tapnell Farm, said: “We would like to thank the Isle of Wight Observer, and everyone who supported us this week, while we have been the focus of inaccurate and defamatory reporting in the media. We are very sorry to hear that the young girl, Isla, contracted the infection and hope that the source can be identified quickly. We wish her a speedy recovery. We would also like to re-assure our customers that Tapnell Farm remains a safe place to bring the family and that our visitors’ health, wellbeing and happiness will always be at the heart of what we do.”
The Toms continued: “We have an amazing team who have worked very hard over the last seven years to build a quality tourism destination on the Island, which includes the Farm Park, The Cow Restaurant and Tom’s Eco Lodge accommodation. It is therefore most distressing that in just a matter of days, through no fault of our own, so much of this hard work and reputation has been damaged by the media.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to business as usual now, with lots of exciting plans for the winter and beyond. Work on our new aquapark is underway, we have a packed schedule of events for Halloween half term and our preparations for our magical Christmas at Tapland are in full flow.”