[holding answer 25 April 2007]: DEFRA does not hold information on the precise provenance and contents of the feed given to the turkey poults infected with the H5N1 virus at the Bernard Matthews plant at Holton during the months of January and February 2007.
However, the feed mill that produced the feed is approved under the Universal Feed Assurance Scheme. An investigation of the premises found it to be maintained to a very high standard. The whole storage and manufacturing process is inaccessible to wild birds. The feedstuffs produced at the mill comprise only ingredients from UK sources. The main component of the feedstuff produced is pelleted feed in a computer controlled operation which includes a heating process to at least 80°C. Whole wheat grains are added to the pellets making up to 30 per cent. of the final ration. Before inclusion the wheat goes through a spraying process with a proprietary solution (Anitox Monoprene F Liquid) containing ammonium salts of propionic and butyric acids, propionic acid and formaldehyde.
There is a base of evidence to support the suggestion that avian influenza H5N1 is transmissible to other susceptible poultry through the carcasses of infected poultry.
The Veterinary Laboratories Agency is undertaking further research to investigate the survivability of avian influenza viruses in carcasses.