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ARM Innovation Hub
7 February, 2007 - 14:46 By Staff Reporter

Exports hit by bird flu outbreak

The bird flu outbreak that hit East Anglia producer Bernard Matthews is not likely to damage the company financially – but feathers are flying for the UK poultry industry as a whole through lost exports.The bird flu outbreak that hit East Anglia producer Bernard Matthews is not likely to damage the company financially – but feathers are flying for the UK poultry industry as a whole through lost exports.

Defra has confirmed that Bernard Matthews is entitled to compensation under the Animal Health Act 1981 for all healthy birds slaughtered to control diseases, including avian flu. Compensation would be based on the value of each bird just before slaughter, and the company would also be reimbursed for any eggs destroyed.

Almost 160,000 turkeys are being gassed to contain the outbreak at the Bernard Matthews site near Lowestoft. Japan, South Africa, South Korea and Hong Kong have halted imports of UK birds while Russia is only allowing import of cooked meats. There are fears that this boycott will widen, bringing potentially huge losses for the £3.4 billion UK poultry industry.

A Bernard Matthews spokesman said none of the affected birds had entered the food chain and there was no risk to public health.

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