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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Setting Blame For E. coli Outbreak

To the editor:

Regarding the recent outbreak of E. coli across the state, the blame now apparently rests squarely on the shoulders of departing Commissioner Britt Cobb and the Department of Agriculture under his watch. Mr. Cobb and the state agency he oversaw are charged with “… controlling and eliminating animal diseases and ensuring general animal health.” This according to the department’s own web site.

The E. coli outbreak at the N.C. State Fair last month which infected over 100 fair goers, half of them children, illustrates the unreserved lack of attention and prioritization by the former commissioner’s Veterinary Division and exposes serious flaws in judgment and oversight at the very event which is expected to showcase the Agriculture Department’s best side. But alas, Mr. Cobb’s apparent lack of experience failed those who have entrusted him with ensuring their health and safety.

Sobering questions come to mind. Why were there not enough hand washing stations? Why were patrons, including parents of children, charged a fee for hand sanitizer? Why was all petting zoo livestock not tested for E. coli if possible?

Mr. Cobb is currently contesting the results of the commissioner of agriculture election, even though he clearly lost. He is maneuvering for another special statewide election to undo the will of the majority who elected his opponent Steve Troxler. Why would voters place their trust and confidence in an appointee such as Mr. Cobb who is clearly more preoccupied with his political career than the welfare of the children who patron the petting zoos at the N.C. State Fair under his administration?

Reagan Sugg
Greensboro