Matthews speaks out

Turkey giant Bernard Matthews has defended his firm in the Daily Mirror, following the bird-flu outbreak at one of his farms.

Matthews denied there had been any cover-up of the farm's links to Hungary and said any allegations that information might have been withheld were "completely untrue".

He told the paper: "I'm sorry for any confusion but this has not been of our making.

"There has been absolutely no cover-up at our end. I've been upset about allegations that we may have withheld information. That is completely untrue.

"Let me be absolutely clear - it's my name on the packet and I wouldn't let it go out to the shelves if I thought there was anything wrong with it.

"Avian flu is a threat not just to my business but to all those in my industry here and abroad. I know some of you will have ruled turkey off the menu and that is devastating to me."

Matthews also emphasised that his Hungarian farms had not suffered from outbreaks of bird flu.

"The link to my business in Hungary is one that is being thoroughly investigated and we were originally told by the experts that the possibility of any link with Hungary had been dismissed.

"I want to stress there haven't been any reported incidents of avian flu on any of our farms in Hungary."

Production has now resumed at the Holton plant in Suffolk - the facility at the centre of the AI outbreak - with the first consignment of turkeys having arrived on Tuesday.

Deputy chief vet Fred Landeg said the most likely transmission route for the outbreak was from poultry to poultry and that no evidence of "illegal" movements of poultry products has been found.

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