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Bird flu may have arrived in the UK on “poultry product” imported from Hungary, a senior Government vet said.

The virus found at a Bernard Matthews farm in Holton, Suffolk, last week and the virus found in wild geese in Hungary last month may be “identical”, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

And scientists were checking food processing arrangements at a Bernard Matthews-owned plant in Hungary in an effort to trace the source of the deadly bug, added officials.

Bernard Matthews said it had volunteered to “cease any movements” between the UK and Hungary.

“Our investigations have shown that one possible route of infection is poultry product imported from Hungary,” said deputy chief vet Fred Landeg.

“It is important that this is investigated thoroughly, along with all the other possible routes. We are working in partnership with the Food Standards Agency and the Health Protection Agency to carry out a thorough investigation.

“We are also working in close contact with the Hungarian authorities and the European Commission. The company involved has voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend the movement of poultry products between their outlets in the UK and Hungary until the investigation is complete.”

A Defra spokesman added: “The Government is developing its investigation into what might have caused the outbreak of avian influenza in the Suffolk poultry farm, following preliminary scientific tests showing the viruses in Suffolk and recent outbreaks in Hungary may well be identical.

“Along with a number of other hypotheses Defra, the Food Standards Agency and the Health Protection Agency are investigating the possibility of a link between the Hungarian outbreaks, poultry meat from Hungary and the introduction of disease in the farm in Suffolk.

“The investigation will include arrangements at the company’s adjacent plant for food processing.”

*This article is taken from www.annanova.com

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