Bird flu outbreak is at duck farm for UK's biggest supermarket supplier

Norfolk's latest bird flu outbreak is at a duck farm in Great Ellingham run by Green Label Poultry, which produces for...

Norfolk's latest bird flu outbreak is at a duck farm in Great Ellingham run by Green Label Poultry, which produces for Gressingham Foods - Credit: Getty Images

Norfolk's latest bird flu outbreak is at a farm run by a producer for the UK's biggest supplier of duck to supermarkets, it has been revealed. 

Gressingham Foods confirmed on Monday that the disease had been detected among the duck flock at Homelea Farm in Great Ellingham, near Attleborough. 

Gressingham Foods has opened a new �5m distribution centre at its site at Redgrave near Diss.

Norfolk's latest bird flu outbreak is at a farm in Great Ellingham, producing duck for Gressingham Foods - Credit: Archant

The farm is run by Green Label Poultry which, on its website, describes itself as the "exclusive producer" of Gressingham duck.

On Sunday, as news of Norfolk's third bird flu outbreak this month came to light, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said all 8,000 birds on the premises would be humanely culled. 

In a statement, Gressingham added: "An outbreak of avian influenza strain H5N8 was confirmed in a Green Label Poultry duck flock near Attleborough, Norfolk, on December 20.

"There have been no movements of eggs, birds or other materials off the premises since December 3.

"The welfare of our birds is an absolute priority, and we work to the highest standards in hygiene, bio-security and animal welfare across all our farms."

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The culling of ducks at Homelea Farm is a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza, which is already wreaking havoc across East Anglia's valuable poultry industry this winter.

It follows two cases confirmed earlier this month which prompted the slaughter of around 55,000 turkeys in the run-up to Christmas.

Poultry farms with more than 40,000 birds need a permit for intensive farming from the Environment A

Up to 55,000 turkeys have been culled at farms near King's Lynn and in Snetterton as a result of recent bird flu outbreaks - Credit: PA

Up to 30,000 were culled at a farm near King's Lynn, with a similar amount killed at North Farm in Snetterton - just 3km from the Ellingham outbreak. 

A Defra spokesman said on Sunday that animal health teams were "working to establish if there is a link" between the two nearby cases, both west of Attleborough.

As a result of the latest outbreak, a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been declared around all premises.

Bird flu zones around Attleborough duck farm

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been set up around a duck farm in Great Ellingham, near Attleborough, after an outbreak of bird flu  - Credit: Defra

That includes increased biosecurity and reporting requirements for poultry keepers including restrictions on the movement of poultry, eggs, meat and carcases.

Gressingham Foods is based in Woodbridge and bills itself as the "first-choice supplier of premium quality duck and speciality poultry" to retailers, manufacturers and caterers.

It owns two duck farms, in Redgrave and Woodbridge.

  • Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77, and keepers must report suspicion of disease to the APHA on 03000 200 301.

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