#4435
imported_Martin
Participant

From the Times:

Quote:
Bernard Matthews admitted for the first time today the possibility that it may have been responsible for an outbreak of lethal bird flu at one of its turkey farms in Suffolk – but said that its paperwork appeared to prove that it had done nothing wrong.

Britain’s largest turkey producer is facing an inquiry after it emerged last night that it had imported 37 tonnes a week of partly-processed turkey meat from Hungary despite an outbreak there last month of the H5N1 strain of avian flu that has caused more than 100 deaths in Asia.

The company is also being investigated for breaking EU hygiene regulations by leaving processed poultry outside sheds at a food processing site on the farm, senior Whitehall sources say.

After analysis of the virus’s DNA showed that the strains from the UK outbreak in Holton and the Hungarian outbreak were probably identical, Sir David King, the Government’s Chief Scientist, today described the Hungarian hypothesis as the “most likely scenario”.

Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Environment Secretary, called today on Defra – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – to come forward and make a statement about the outbreak and subsequent investigation.

Mr Ainsworth told BBC News 24: “I think the question for Government is where are the ministers? This is a matter of significant public concern and we have not had anything since Monday from Government ministers on the subject, certainly not about the questions now being raised about the links between Hungary and Suffolk.

“There is a degree of public anxiety about this and if I was a Defra minister, rather than leaving it to my officials to make explanations, I would want to come forward and say what my position was. There are also questions to be answered about what ministers knew and when, and if they had information last Monday, why didn’t they disclose that information?”

Bernard Matthews admits ‘possible’ Hungarian bird flu link