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Braintree: Feathers unruffled by turkey infection
3:00pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
Farmers insist they are unconcerned by a MRSA outbreak in turkeys less than a month before Christmas.
Inspectors identified the infection in a flock of birds on an East Anglian farm, but Food Standards Agency and Defra officials insisted any risk to human health was very low and allowed the turkeys to be sold as normal.
It had initially been suggested consumer confidence could be damaged, but farms across the Braintree area claim the discovery of the livestock strain of the superbug has been blown out of proportion.
Farmer Howard Blackwell of Coggeshall-based Herons Farm, which supplies meat to Harrods and rears about 5,000 turkeys every year for Christmas, accused the national media of scaremongering.
William Grove Smith, of Grove Smith Turkey, in Shalford, was also unconcerned and said cooking times were the key.
Health officials also maintain the risk to the public is very low.
Steve Wearne, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency, said: “Any risk of contracting MRSA through meat from animals with these bacteria is very low when usual good hygiene and thorough cooking practices are observed.
“All poultry should be handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly to destroy any bacteria that may be present.”
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