Failings revealed at bird flu site

TURKEY firm Bernard Matthews has come under fire after an official report revealed a catalogue of failings at the Suffolk plant hit by bird flu.Inspectors saw gulls feeding on meat scraps left in uncovered waste bins and polythene bags used for meat products were left in open bins, according to an interim report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

TURKEY firm Bernard Matthews has come under fire after an official report revealed a catalogue of failings at the Suffolk plant hit by bird flu.

Inspectors saw gulls feeding on meat scraps left in uncovered waste bins and polythene bags used for meat products were left in open bins, according to an interim report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra's interim report yesterday named imported turkey meat from Hungary as the “most plausible” cause of the H5N1 outbreak at Holton which led to a cull of 159,000 birds at the plant, but a number of other causes were also listed, such as contaminated clothing or footwear or small birds, rodents or rats being able to get inside the sheds.

In a second report - also released yesterday - the Food Standards Agency said all food importing and processing activities carried out at the Holton site had complied with EU laws.

But it said Meat Hygiene Service records for the past year showed Bernard Matthews staff had been verbally warned about “deficiencies” a number of times.

Responding to the two reports, Bernard Matthews said they proved it had always acted within the law.

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In a statement, the firm said: “The Defra report indicates that the authorities have identified ways in which biosecurity can be enhanced and Bernard Matthews will comply with any recommendations,' the firm said in a statement.

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