Bird flu not a risk to Human health, says EU Commission
EU agriculture ministers yesterday discussed the continuing spate of avian flu outbreaks in Europe.
Over Christmas, Ireland became the latest EU country to report the virus, following a first outbreak in Hungary in October last year.
Since then, the H5N8 strain of bird flu has been detected in 16 other EU countries, mainly in wild ducks, swans and seagulls found dead at seashores and lakes.
But it has been detected in poultry in 13 countries, including the Netherlands, which decided to confine the birds indoors until the outbreak has passed.
The problem is that confining poultry for more than 12 weeks means neither they nor their eggs can be classified as free range under EU rules.
The Dutch are appealing to the European Commission to extend the 12-week rule or, they say, egg producers risk “substantial economic losses”.
So far, bird flu has not infected the poultry population in Ireland.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that avian influenza is now likely well established in wild bird populations across the country and has urged flock owners to remain vigilant and keep their poultry housed.