BIRD FLU UPDATE: Cherry Valley identified as owner of bird flu farm
Published:  18 November, 2014

The Yorkshire farm involved in the recent H5 avian flu outbreak is owned by Cherry Valley Foods, due to be acquired by Faccenda Foods by the end of the year.

Culling of the 6,000 birds at the farm began today (18/11/14) and police guarded the 3km exclusion zone last night, put in place by the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday.

Faccenda announced only last week that it would make its first steps into poultry and acquire the business by the end of this year.

The company said in a statement: “Faccenda Foods is aware of a confirmed case of avian flu on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire – no Faccenda Foods facility or supplier is affected. The authorities have announced that the public health risk is very low and there is no risk to the food chain. We take any instance of avian flu extremely seriously.

“Faccenda Foods will fully cooperate with the authorities and we are respecting the 10km restriction zone around the affected farm. Defra and the poultry industry have a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK.

“In terms of Cherry Valley, Faccenda Foods has not currently bought the business, but we have committed to complete the purchase by the end of December. Nonetheless we have been in contact with them to offer our support. Cherry Valley is liaising with the British Poultry Council (BPC) regarding the outbreak. At this point the focus has to be on identifying full details about the outbreak.”

The exact strain of bird flu at the Yorkshire farm has not been identified, although Defra officials have ruled out the H5N1 form, which is deadly to humans.

An investigation into the source of the outbreak has begun and it is unconfirmed whether there is a link to the recent outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu – in Germany earlier this month and The Netherlands over the weekend.

However the UK’s chief veterinary officer told the BBC in an interview that the bird flu outbreak in the Netherlands was the “most likely source” of the Yorkshire case.