State fair making changes after last year's E. coli outbreak

Hunter Tallent with his mother, Lindsay.


by NewsChannel 36 Staff

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 9 at 6:33 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina State Fair is making significant changes after two dozen people were sickened with E. coli last year.
State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said the fair is relocating its food vendors and adding other safety measures associatted with a livestock building believed to be behind the outbreak.

“The changes put forth by the Study Commission are a practical and effective way to further reduce the potential for disease transmission – both animal-to-human and human-to-animal,” Troxler said. “They build upon protective measures already in place, and they reduce risks while maintaining the fair’s agricultural heritage.”

Hunter Tallent, 2, of Shelby was one of 26 people who became sick last fall after visiting the fair.

Tallent wasn’t discharged from Levine Children's Hospital until November 10.

Hunter and his parents, Lindsay and Doc Tallent, visited the fair on October 15 last year, on its third day.  For 16 days they watched their baby boy battle E. coli in the hospital.

More than $200,000 will be invested to implement the changes, and that money is coming from State Fair revenues.

Health officials said fair visitors can help themselves by:
•    Leaving strollers outside buildings containing animals.
•    Following instructions on signs indicating animals that should not be touched.
•    Using the hand-washing stations located throughout the fairgrounds.
•    Helping children wash their hands well at the appropriate times.

The fair kicks off in Raleigh on October 11 and runs through October 21