17 November 2014
In the past 24 hours there have been two Avian Influenza outbreaks reported by authorities in the UK and the Netherlands. One is located at a laying hen farm in Hekendorp, and the other at a duck breeding farm near Driffield, East Yorkshire.
Neither are 2 Sisters businesses.
Current situation - Netherlands
In relations to the outbreak in the Netherlands, we are still accessing the impact on customers of the supply of EU materials into the UK.
This morning testing results from two farms within one kilometre of the protection area have come back negative.
Results from all farms within a 10km radius will be announced on Tuesday (November 18th). There are no 2 Sisters businesses within the 10km surveillance zone.
Current situation - UK
2 Sister Food Group is now at amber status in its business continuity planning process in relation to Avian influenza outbreaks. This status is defined when we have at least one confirmed outbreak in the UK, but not within our own business.
We have just one poultry farm located within the 10km DEFRA surveillance zone currently in place in East Yorkshire.
The birds at this facility are 20 days old, and will be on site for another 12 days. No birds have been taken from this site for the past 27 days.
As our protocols dictate, we are suspending all farm visits, including audits and farmer meetings, for the next seven days. All deliveries onto farms will be kept to an absolute minimum.
In addition, all collections of chickens from eastern free range and organic sites will now be on separate bespoke vehicles and dedicated catching teams, effective November 18th.
Epidemiological investigations into the source of the outbreak are continuing and 2 Sisters will continue to liaise closely with DEFRA and the BPC throughout the day.
The number in the UK is yet to be confirmed but this does come on the back of the outbreaks of the H5N8 strain in Germany and the Netherlands, and which was until recently confined to South East Asia. These are believed to have been caused by migratory wild birds.
There are two strains of the virus – high pathogenicity and low pathogenicity. This indicates the severity of the disease if contracted by birds. The H and N numbers represent two of the eight genes associated with a strain. LPAI strains can evolve over time to become HPAI, but all currently known HPAI strains are either H5 or H7.
The key message for our customers’ consumers should be to continue to support British poultry meat, assured that there is no risk in eating cooked poultry, and that is a message echoed by the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organisation.