Are your eggs really free range?
Recently eggs have been losing their free range status due to a virus which means that they have to be kept indoors. The virus is called H5N8 and it has killed nine swans already.
Abbotsbury Swannery which is in Dorset has seen 80 birds die in winter 2016, compared to a normal 30 to 40 birds that die normally.
Nine birds have been tested positive for the H5N8 strain of bird flu. Official figures show this is the highest number of wild birds tested positive for avian influenza in the UK.
Why could they lose their free range status?
Birds that are not in a Higher Risk Area can be allowed outdoors into fenced areas provided the areas meet certain conditions.
If they are in a Higher Risk Area then keepers must either keep their birds housed, in permanent or temporary sheds; or allow birds outdoors but only into a fenced run which is fully covered by netting.
Most egg producers in England can now let birds outside if they observe follow disease prevention measures. All eggs from birds that remain housed, from both inside and outside higher risk areas, are no longer considered to be free range and can’t be labelled as free range.
In addition to being found in poultry, the same strain of the virus has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.
Here is a short video by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs explaining all you need to know about the bird flu:
How many cases have they been of the virus H5N8?
The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at a farm in Northumberland, a poultry farm in Suffolk, in three linked premises on a commercial game farm in Lancashire, in three separate poultry farms in Lincolnshire, and in backyard flocks in North Yorkshire and Carmarthenshire.
What is the risk of the disease?
Public Health England advises “the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for UK consumers.”
By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for General News section