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'String of flaws found' at Bernard Matthews plant

by 5m Editor
19 February 2007, at 11:20am

UK - The Bernard Matthews plant infected with bird flu had serious biosecurity shortfalls, a government investigation has found: holes in the turkey sheds where birds, rats and mice could get in and spread the H5N1 disease, leaking roofs, and uncovered bins where seagulls were seen carrying off meat waste.

It also emerged yesterday that the government is to look at whether failings at the site constituted a breach of animal by-product regulations, an offence which carries a maximum of two years in prison.

The Meat Hygiene Service, the Health Protection Agency, and the Food Standards Agency found a string of problems at the plant, any one of which might have led to the infection being spread:

· polythene bags full of residue of liquid waste could have blown around the site;

· plastic-covered bales of wood shavings for bedding were kept outside;

· water was leaking from roofs into sheds, meaning infection could spread;

· pest control workers noted many gulls around, attracted to uncovered bins full of turkey-breast trimmings;

· gulls were taking turkey waste to roosts on top of the turkey-house 500m away;

· holes in the turkey houses could have allowed in birds or rodents.

Source: The Guardian

5m Editor