ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Farmers warned of the dangers of spreading poultry litter

by 5m Editor
8 December 2006, at 10:44am

UK - The Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) today announced new guidelines to help farmers protect their stock from botulism.

Incidence of suspect botulism has increased substantially since 2003. Evidence suggests that direct access to litter from broiler houses is a significant factor in most of the recent outbreaks of suspected and confirmed botulism in cattle and sheep. Litter stored or spread on neighbouring farms may also be a factor.

The use of poultry litter containing carcasses or any carcass material as fertiliser to spread on agricultural land is contrary to the Animal By-Products Regulations 2005 in England, with equivalent legislation in Wales, Scotland and NI . Any poultry carcases have to be taken out before litter is removed from the poultry house.

The VLA guidelines for farmers aim to control these risks. Advice includes not using litter on ruminant farms wherever possible and adopting good personal hygiene when moving or spreading litter.
Other recommendations include:

  • Moving stock away from direct contact and close proximity to fields where litter has been stored or spread (as fertilizer), including on neighbouring premises
  • Not using machinery used for handling litter for storing, mixing or moving feedstuff
  • Ensuring litter stores are secure enclosed constructions to prevent access by scavenging birds and animals, including domestic animals and comply with relevant environmental regulations
The full guidelines, including additional advice for poultry keepers, can be found at: The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF), an independent advisory committee advising the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reviewed the risks to public health associated with cattle botulism. The available data suggest the public risks are very low. Accordingly the FSA has suspended the need to withhold meat or milk, from the food chain, from healthy cattle from farms affected by suspected botulism. There is no change in the restrictions on sheep or goats affected by suspected botulism.

The recommendations and full text of the ACMSF are available at ThePoultrySite News Desk

5m Editor