Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Update

November 17 2022

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is continuing its spread across the UK at a devastating rate, with a record-breaking number of cases as such which has never been seen in history.

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds were introduced by law to all areas of England from 00:01 on Monday 7th November, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

The housing measures legally require all bird keepers whether commercial or domestic, to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease.

The current UK legislation allows eggs to be marketed as free-range for 16 weeks (27th February 2023).

The BEIC & BRC request all batches of eggs produced after this date are labelled as ‘Barn’ and the PEN (red stamped number on the shell itself) will read ‘2UK’, although producers and packers can continue to call their business free-range’. We recommend our retailers and foodservice customers ensure they are aware of what marketing standards are required for their particular industry.

Anybody keeping birds MUST keep a close eye on them for any signs of disease, whilst always maintaining good biosecurity. These measures are in place to keep the birds safe and during this time, we urge keepers to house birds safely in order to protect them, other flocks and businesses across the country. We cannot stress the importance of this enough.