H5N1 may be in human food chain
Initial tests have shown that the strain of avian flu
involved in the outbreak that led to the culling of turkeys at the Suffolk
farm is H5N1 and may be identical to the variety responsible for two serious
outbreaks in Hungary last month.
The environment minister Ben Bradshaw said the government was investigating
whether there had been "bio-security breaches" at the plant. After a meeting of
the cabinet's emergency contingency committee, called Cobra, he said the
Hungarian authorities were examining whether contaminated produce had come in
from a slaughterhouse close to the restricted area.
The UK Food Standards
(FSA) said that it
was investigating the possibility that turkey meat contaminated by bird flu at a
Bernard Matthews poultry farm
has entered the human food chain.
The government's chief scientist, Sir David King, said the
FSA would be considering ordering supermarkets to remove packaged turkey from
shelves after it emerged that Bernard Matthews had been transporting turkey meat
from Hungary to the Suffolk farm where the H5N1
strain of the virus was discovered.
"As part of the investigation into what might have caused the outbreak of
bird flu in a Suffolk poultry farm, the agency will check that no infected meat
has got into food," the FSA said in a statement. Bradshaw warned that legal
action could be launched following the latest developments and possible breaches
in bio-security at the plant.
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