Friday 03 March 2017

Avian influenza and free range eggs - what's the latest?

Regarding the ongoing situation relating to avian influenza and its threat to the UK’s free range egg sector, chief executive Robert Gooch said: 

“BFREPA members are proud to produce a product which so many consumers love and they very much want their hens to have access to the outside. 

“However there is still a significant risk that free range flocks could catch avian influenza while migratory wild birds are in the country in significant numbers. 

“It’s important that consumers understand that this is not a food safety scare. Eggs remain a fantastic source of nutrition and are safe to eat.  

“From 1 March Defra have identified certain parts of England as Higher Risk where poultry must remain housed (or the range completely netted), while outside of these areas free range producers may be able to let their birds back out with enhanced biosecurity. 

“It is up to individual producers, together with advice from their vets to assess the local area risks for their own flocks. 

“Some producers will be able to let their birds out and some will have decided, on the balance of local risk and to protect their birds health, to keep them indoors until the danger of infection has passed.

“Boxes of free range eggs are being stickered to inform consumers that they may have been laid by hens which are temporarily housed to protect their welfare. 

“We hope that this is a short term measure and that it will soon be safe for all free range producers to allow birds back outside. 
 
“Producers are ensuring that housed birds are being well looked after and strict biosecurity protocols are followed at all times.” 

ENDS 

Last updated 3 March 2017. Updates will be posted on the BFREPA website as required.