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Pat On The Back For UK Poultry Industry

by 5m Editor
13 June 2007, at 11:51am

FARMING UK - The UK broiler industry was given a resounding pat on the back by an international poultry expert recently.

Speaking at a gathering of leading broiler-breeders and broiler producers in Shropshire, Matthias Mangels, Lohmann Animal Health's Head of Vaccine Sales in Europe said that, despite rising imports and increased costs, the UK still had the largest broiler industry in Europe — ahead of other big players, France, Spain and Germany.

And in terms of salmonella control, it also had the healthiest.

"UK broiler industry has a terrific record and this is borne out by a recent report in the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) journal which looked at the incidence of salmonella on broiler farms in 23 EU member states plus Norway," said Mr Mangels. At 0.0 per cent for Salmonella Enteritidis and 0.1 per cent for Salmonella Typhimurium the UK had the lowest level of these salmonellas of all the major European poultry-producing countries.

"This says a lot for the structure and professional standards within the industry. This includes, of course, good overall management, husbandry and hygiene standards on the farm, including vaccination and I think this is paying off."

He thinks this care is filtering through to the consumer, but believes a key word is 'traceability'. "I detect a growing concern for this within the UK, along with animal welfare, of course. Many supermarkets make an issue of this and there are meat products featuring the very farm they have come from on the packaging. "

It is sad, therefore, that the EU plans for a labelling scheme for poultry that meets higher EU standards has been kicked into touch. It has been reported that farmers are suspicious that there has been opposition from supermarkets to the legislation which will curb their ability to source globally without consumers realising this is happening.

"However, such is the confidence in your product your industry hasn't suffered the dips in consumption experienced by some countries, following outbreaks of avian influenza, for instance."

Defra statistics for 2006 put the volume of poultry meat at 1.5 million tonnes and the value of poultry meat at £1.3 billion — 75 per cent of this value coming from chicken.

"These figures give an indication of just how important the UK poultry industry is," said Mr Mangels

5m Editor