Defra has ordered the culling of 6,000 ducks after an outbreak of bird flu was detected on a duck breeding farm in East Yorkshire.
A 10km restriction zone has been created around the farm in Driffield, near Bridlington, but Defra claimed the public health risk was “very low” and that there was no risk to the food chain.
“We are taking immediate and robust action which includes introducing a restriction zone and culling all poultry on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection,” said a Defra spokesman, adding a “detailed investigation” into the outbreak was ongoing.
“We have a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK.”
Defra has not confirmed which strain of the virus affected the farm, but the potentially lethal to humans H5N1 strain has been ruled out by government officials.
The outbreak in Yorkshiore followed the discovery of the H5N8 strain of avian flu - which can be dangerious to humans - in The Netherlands yesterday. This has resulted in the mass culling of 150,000 hens on a poultry farm in the village of Hekendorp, near Utrecht.
The Dutch government has imposed a 72-hour ban on the transportation of poultry products across the country in response to the outbreak.
Maintaining a high level of surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK was key to helping contain avian influenza once present, said British Poultry Council CEO Andrew Large.
“We hope this outbreak has been quickly contained,” he added. “Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible.
“Consumers should continue to support British poultry meat, assured that there is no risk in eating cooked poultry, and that is a message echoed by the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organisation”.