Flu confirms importance of biosecurity vigilance

Confirmation of an avian influenza outbreak at a Young egg farm has highlighted the importance of on-farm biosecurity, NSW Farmers Association said today.

NSW Farmers Association Egg Committee Chair Mr Bede Burke said: “This outbreak is devastating for the families involved and a timely reminder about the need to be vigilant with biosecurity at all times. This means on the farm and also along the supply chain,” he said.

Department of Primary Industries NSW’s announced late on Tuesday that testing had confirmed the outbreak to be the H7 Avian Influenza strain - a disease confined to poultry only.

Mr Burke said poultry producers were relieved it is not the highly infectious H5N1 strain.

“The challenge and pressure is on agencies now for control and effective eradication of the disease. It is not just the egg producers but staff and local businesses and the community who are already feeling the affect of the outbreak and quarantine controls which have been put in place,” Mr Burke said.

“The outbreak highlights the importance of maintaining a range of poultry production systems in Australia and the need to ensure a secure supply of an affordable and popular protein.” 

Mr Burke said different production systems carried different degrees of biosecurity risks with free range carrying the highest risk compared to indoor systems.
“Modern egg production systems have evolved to reflect consumer demand balanced with bird health and well being. But it is important to ensure we maintain different production systems to limit biosecurity risks,” he said.

“There is no evidence that this flu strain poses food safety issues and we encourage egg and poultry consumers to continue to support farmers by purchasing eggs and poultry meat.

“Staff from the DPI, the NSW Food Authority and other agencies are doing a fantastic job at communicating to our industry and those directly affected by the outbreak and we thank them for that,” Mr Burke concluded.

People who notice sick or dead birds should contact their local veterinarian or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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