When 900 mt of poultry meat passed through a
UK farm infected with bird flu and into the food
chain during an outbreak of the disease last month,
regulations came under fire.
It seemed to be a sign that the
's system of
keeping tainted food out of the supply chain needed to be rectified before other
similar outbreaks occur.
Bernard Matthews handled the suspect meat from 2 February,
when the outbreak of the H5N1
virus was confirmed at the premises, and 12 February, when
regulators said the disinfection process had been completed. The meat passed
through the farm even though an EU-regulated protection zone had been put in
place around it and the related processing plant during the outbreak.
However, UK Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said in a
written statement: "The Food
informed me that their enquiries have
shown that no staff handling meat at the plant handled live birds. The only
staff coming into contact with live birds are those working in the
lairage/killing area (which is separate from the main processing area). For
hygiene reasons, these staff are not deployed in meat processing areas and there
is no swapping of roles."
H5N1 may be in human food chain
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