Free range poultry meat producers would not enjoy the benefits of an EU derogation if they were ordered to bring their birds indoors to avoid infection with bird flu, it has been warned.
As reported last week (The Grocer, August 27, p60), their counterparts in the egg sector could benefit from a derogation that would allow them to maintain free range status for at least part of the time emergency measures were in place.
The issue arose after Dutch poultry farmers were told to bring their birds indoors after avian flu spread to Russia.
NFU poultry chairman Charles Bourns admitted there was concern that there was not the facility to apply for a derogation covering free range poultry meat.
He said he had been warned that February was crunch time for poultry farmers, because it was the peak of the UK’s migratory season. But he added: “We mustn’t get hysterical.”