Farm House: Avian Flu Highlights Problems of Bigger EU

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), February 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

Farm House: Avian Flu Highlights Problems of Bigger EU


Byline: NIKI HILL

THOUSANDS of miles away on the other side of the world, the spread of avian flu among poultry stocks continues relentlessly.

Television pictures at the outset of the disease were an indication of just how many birds are involved and how many are being slaughtered to try to contain the outbreaks in several Far Eastern countries.

But they don't seem to be news any more, or interesting for Western consumers.

But one thing the pictures have provided quite graphically is the differing farming methods used to grow this particular crop for the table.

Concepts of good farming practice, of animal husbandry and conservation, are something which the Common Market has developed and refined over the years.

A raft of legislation has ensured that much of our food is produced under strict guidelines, and not just its production - since an emphasis on food hygiene has laid down rules which are designed to see that our food, when it comes to the shops, is as free of bacteria as possible.

If you recall the uproar which Edwina Currie produced when she announced that most poultry flocks in the UK were infected by salmonella - you will see how far we have come from that point in food production history.

But all this has come at a cost for many producers who have had to spend a lot of money making sure that their poultry units come up to regulation standards. Retailers also have had to invest in methods which keep that produce as fresh and hygienic as possible at point of sale.

There has been a continual process of refinement, which has involved more regulations, but the basis of them is sound however much they seem to complicate matters. …

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