BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 12:44 GMT
Bird flu measures to be lifted
Workers wearing protective clothing
Nearly 160,000 turkeys were culled at the plant in February
Restrictions are to be lifted at the Bernard Matthews plant in Suffolk which was at the centre of last month's bird flu outbreak.

The UK's chief vet said it marked the end of "active disease control" at the site, as long as no traces of the virus were detected over the weekend.

Movement of poultry will now be allowed in the area around the Holton plant, as will bird fairs and markets.

Avian flu was first detected there on 3 February after 2,600 turkeys died.

Restrictions were eased on 1 March, when the 3km exclusion zone around the plant was lifted, meaning turkeys no longer had to kept indoors.

But there remained a 10km surveillance zone in place while investigations continued.

Now, final checks permitting, the last of the control measures will be relaxed from one minute past midnight on Monday.

'Good biosecurity'

Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said there was still much work to be done at the site.

"We will continue to investigate the source of the virus introduction and endeavour to learn from this outbreak to help us prevent and manage similar situations in the future," she said.

My turkey is completely safe to eat
Bernard Matthews

"Bird keepers should continue to practice good biosecurity and remain vigilant for signs of disease."

Minister for Animal Health Ben Bradshaw thanked all the agencies which had helped contain the outbreak.

"The fact that we have no evidence of this disease spreading outside of the infected premise is a testament to our emergency response planning and implementation," he said.

Public confidence

On Thursday, Public Health Minister Caroline Flint revealed that 850 tons of turkey passed through the infected farm and into the food chain during the outbreak.

Nearly 100 tons came from Hungary, the country suspected as being the source of the outbreak.

But the Food Standards Agency said none of the meat went near the sheds where sick birds were found.

On the same day as the lifting of restrictions was announced, Bernard Matthews took out full-page adverts in several national newspapers, assuring the public: "My turkey is completely safe to eat."

Mr Matthews, who is 77, said it was more than 10 years since he had appeared in his own adverts. but now was the time to do it again.

And he insisted all his turkey had been through "rigorous tests" to ensure it was safe.

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific