In early March 2015, the British Poultry Council and Elanco, the global animal health company, hosted a poultry industry hustings event in London, in advance of the 2015 General Election.  The participants were George Eustice MP (Conservative – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for farming, food and marine environment), Huw Irranca-Davies MP (Labour -Shadow Minister Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Roger Williams MP (Liberal Democrat – Member of the EFRA Select Committee). The Husting’s event was moderated by Julia Glotz, Managing Editor of the Grocer Magazine, and the audience made up of senior representatives of the UK poultry industry.

The hustings focused on four key issues: Food Security, Government, specific poultry industry priorities and science and innovation.

Food Security

All participants were united in their view that food security would be based around a strong UK production base. It would no longer be sufficient for the UK to rely on its relative wealth to secure supplies.  George Eustice focused on the importance of open markets and global trade as an adjunct to UK supply. This was echoed by Huw Irranca-Davies who saw that a diversity of supply sources would build resilience into the UK supply of food. Roger Williams further noted that the acceptance of poultry raised on GM feed by most UK supermarkets was a further support to UK food security.


Roger Williams stated that the Liberal Democrats would issue a separate manifesto for the food and farming sectors. Huw Irranca-Davies stated that Labour would both retain food as a core part of their Industrial Strategy and revisit the Food 2030 Strategy published when they were in Government. The Conservatives were focused on growing the UK food and farming sector, including poultry meat and aimed to reduce regulatory burdens and increase export opportunities.

All the participants noted that Government austerity was here to stay and that DEFRA’s budget would be cut, whichever party was in power after May 7th. For Huw Irranca-Davies, Labour was going through the budget “line by line” and tough choices would have to be made in future as the process of cutting across the board had reached its limits. Roger Williams noted that the Liberal Democrats had “safeguarded the science budget”. George Eustice added that the Conservatives had protected the resources of Government vets and aimed to support the poultry industry to grow.

Considering the future of the FSA, all three participants felt that it should remain an arms’ length body, and were committed to the food crime unit. However, Labour is actively considering returning some of the FSA’s previous responsibilities, such as labelling, food governance and international trade. George Eustice believed the split of responsibilities remained the right approach, as labelling needed to be within a Ministerial department. For Roger Williams it was important that the Food Crime Unit had real teeth, so as to prevent a repeat of the horsemeat scandal.

There was some divergence in the positions adopted on European policy and its impact on the food industry. For George Eustice, the preferred outcome of a renegotiation would be “just a single market and customs union” and for the UK to be able to “pick and mix” other elements. Huw Irranca-Davies acknowledged the frustrations with current EU policies, but believed strongly that Britain was better off “being inside the club and writing the rules”. For Roger Williams, the access to the single market was the most important element, and the UK needed to be better at forging relationships with other EU countries.

Science and innovation

All three parties recognised the importance of utilising technology to help the industry grow and compete in an ever expanding global food market. George Eustice commented on the Agri-Tech Strategy and ambitions to increase competitiveness. He noted the importance of new husbandry technology, welfare science and genetics to maximise production efficiencies and the continued use of science for the maximising processing capabilities. Huw Irranca-Davies highlighted their intention for a scientific ‘referee’ to balance the social sciences and public concerns. Roger Williams commented on their science led philosophy, support for genetically modified foods and their intention to safe-guard the science budget.

Poultry priorities

All participants recognised the importance of a rapid reaction to the recent Avian Influenza outbreak. George Eustice confirmed that the Government was considering changes to the compensation scheme in the aftermath of the 2014 -2015 outbreak. For Huw Irranca-Davies, both the timeliness and funding of the secondary cleaning and disinfection needed to be reviewed. Roger Williams considered that ultimately DEFRA should have a reserve power to force such a clean-up.

George Eustice recognised the importance of international trade to the UK poultry industry. UK demand is for white meat and UK dark meat needs export markets. In his view, TTIP could and should be made to work for the UK poultry sector. Roger Williams noted that he had led a debate on TTIP and the poultry industry in the House of Commons and that politicians now understood the risks posed by the difference in standards between the EU and US. Huw Irranca-Davies stated that TTIP must not lead to a drop in standards and that the US was a tough negotiator, which put the onus on the EU side to remain robust in the discussions.

Unfortunately, George Eustice had to leave the Hustings before the question on campylobacter could be asked. For Roger Williams, better education in kitchen hygiene in schools would help in reducing all levels of food borne illness. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats committed to continuing the joint working currently undertaken by the Acting on Campylobacter Together initiative under the auspices of the FSA.

Speaking after the hustings had closed, Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council said: “This has been a fantastic event. I am very grateful to all three participants for their candour in answering the poultry industry’s questions. It is clear that all respondents have a high opinion of the UK poultry sector and its importance in ensuring the UK’s food security in the years to come.”

Elanco’s Head of Poultry, Jerry Glover, commented: “This event importantly drew together leaders in the food industry, with agricultural policy decision makers. And, what is more, it provided a timely opportunity to highlight industry priorities, including the importance of science and innovation to the future of the UK poultry sector.”


Media contact

Chris Potter 07540 501 173 cpotter@britishpoultry.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. About the British Poultry Council – The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included over 900 million poultry birds in 2014. Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2013, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK.
  2. The BPC Hustings took place on 4th March 2015 – The participants were George Eustice MP, Huw Irranca-Davies MP and Roger Williams MP. The Hustings was moderated by Julia Glotz, Managing Editor of the Grocer Magazine and the audience made up of senior representatives of the UK poultry industry.
  3. The British Poultry Council is grateful for Elanco’s support in the organisation of this hustings. More information on Elanco, the global animal health company, can be found here: http://www.elancoanimalhealth.co.uk/
  4. Elanco is a world leader in developing products and services that enhance animal health, wellness and performance. Elanco products contribute to the production of an affordable and abundant supply of food, while also helping to ensure the safety of that food. Innovative new pet products help companion animals live longer, healthier, happier lives. Our half-century of innovative products, services and global partnerships help to fulfill our vision of food and companionship enriching life. Elanco operates from a global headquarters in Indiana, USA, and employs over 2,500 people in more than 40 countries. Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company, a Fortune 500 global pharmaceutical corporation in Indianapolis with a heritage more than 130 years strong.

European Poultry Breeders, Hatcheries and Exporters of Hatching Eggs and Day-Olds establish a new European association for Live Poultry and Poultry Hatching Eggs (ELPHA)


ELPHA (European Live Poultry and Poultry Hatching Egg Association) has been established on 23rd of March 2015 in a meeting that gathered the founding members the European associations EPB (poultry breeders), AEH (hatcheries) and EPEXA (traders of hatching eggs and day-old chicks) and the national associations BPC (British Poultry Council), BTT (Hungarian Poultry Product Association) and ZDG (Central German Poultry Organisation).

The value of the new common organization is a better representation and promotion of the common interests of the European live poultry businesses in the policy area of live poultry and hatching eggs towards the European institutions as the European Commission and the European Parliament. The main interests of ELPHA members are in the areas of EU trade and export, animal health, animal welfare and genetics, while at the same time the base of food safety and security starts with the production of live poultry.

The Executive Board of ELPHA consists of President Mr Jacques de Lange (NL), Vice President Mr Graeme Dear (UK ), Treasurer Mr Anton Butijn (NL), Mr Leo Graf von Drechsel (DE) and Mr Thijs Hendrix (NL), Mr Andrew Large and Mr Louis Perrault have been appointed as Deputy Member of the Executive Board.

The mission of the Executive Board will be:
– to initiate actions especially in the interests of the activities ELPHA is representing;
– to actively stimulate and motivate members and experts in cooperating in working groups and other committees;
– to represent ELPHA toward the European institution in meetings with Commission officials and Members of the European Parliament.

ELPHA represents a sector with a production of about 8.5 billion hatching eggs. About 1 billion hatching eggs are exported to outside the EU with a value of over 250 million Euros, and a similar number is traded within the EU. More than 6 billion day old chicks for poultry meat production and about 400 million day old layers for table egg production are hatched from these hatching eggs.

For more information:
Mr. Cees Vermeeren, Secretary General, e-mail: ELPHA.EU@gmail.com or T +32 2238 1082 Brussels, March 23rd, 2015



London Tuesday 17 March 2015 –  Poultry industry confidence has been knocked by a decline in exports, according to a new survey from the British Poultry Council, the results of which have been released today. 15.4% of respondents said they felt slightly less confident than 6 months ago about the future of the UK poultry meat industry and 23% felt similarly about the future of the business they work for. In comparison, six months ago no respondents felt less confident in either the industry or their individual businesses.

Over the last six months 46% of respondents have seen an increase in sales to retail customers, but 23% have seen a decline in sales to traders normally destined for export. For around half of respondents the volume of production and imports for processing saw no change. A little over one third (38.5%) of respondents had noticed a slight decrease in the availability of sufficient skilled labour.

Looking ahead the industry is more positive about future demand for UK poultry meat with 62% believing they would see a slight increase in sales to retailers and 38% to food service customers over the next six months. However against the backdrop of the trade impacts of the UK outbreak of avian influenza, sales over the next six months to exporting traders are expected to decline according to 23% of the industry, while 30% of the industry said they would see no change. This offers some explanation as to why around half of respondents said they would see no change in volume of production.

Respondents to the survey also ranked the most important BPC policy priority areas as the following:

  1. Reducing the presence of Campylobacter
  2. Enhancing the reputation of the British poultry industry and raising awareness of its economic and social contribution
  3. Minimising the impact of legalisation
  4. Supporting trade
  5. Working on changes to the EU meat inspection regime.

Commenting on the survey results, Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council said:

“This survey shows that both the industry and individual members companies continue to have confidence in their futures. The reported decline in export trade is a matter for concern however, and it throws into sharp relief the need for the UK to regain its Avian Influenza disease free status as quickly as possible.”

“The priority placed on campylobacter reduction in this survey is indicative of the very real efforts that members are making to reduce the prevalence of campylobacter in chicken.”


FSA Retail Survey of Campylobacter in Chickens


The FSA today released the latest set of figures in its ongoing survey of campylobacter in whole chicken at retail. It continues to monitor the progress on introducing various interventions into the food chain aimed at reducing campylobacter.

The figures, covering February to November 2014, go up to a point where significant interventions began being trialled in slaughterhouses, following years of research into this complex bacterium. These trials have continued to date and the second half of 2015 will see them moving into full scale production and their effectiveness translating into the survey figures.

Commenting on the results, Andrew Large, Chief Executive said:

“We welcome the news that retailers and their suppliers are making significant progress, and hope that proven technology will be made commercially available across the sector. The BPC remains committed to collaborative working between industry, retailers, and regulators, as we believe this is where long-term consistency will emerge. This joint effort is a complement to the creativity and investment we are seeing.”

“We are pleased to see the FSA’s commitment to solving this problem remains as strong as our own, and we look forward to being able to demonstrate good progress as we move through 2015.”


Media contact

For more information please call Chris Potter on 07540 501173 or Ailsa Logan on 0207 400 4480.

Notes to Editors

  1. Campylobacter Website

The Campylobacter website launched on 26 November 2014. It has been designed by the group to provide consumers information on campylobacter, the work being undertaken to understand the bacterium, steps being taken and the progress in tackling it in the UK. As a central resource, it also has information on the role consumers can play in tackling the bug at home – like any bacteria, campylobacter is killed by proper cooking and good kitchen hygiene should always be followed when handling any meat.

  1. About Campylobacter and the Joint Working Group

Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of many animals. It is a global issue and all those involved in supplying meat have a role to play in reducing campylobacter. People handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.

The poultry industry has been working hard to tackle campylobacter and fully recognises its responsibility to ensure the food it produces is safe. It has worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a reduction plan. The partnership approach has been successful in driving industry-wide efforts.

Over the last five years, over 70 scientific research projects into the bacteria have been conducted and new trials are currently taking place. While much new information has been obtained through these projects, more work is required to find a consistent means of reduction.

In 2015, the JWG will be moving to a delivery phase with large scale trials and implementation of those measures that are most promising for campylobacter reduction. The industry will continue to work closely with all the JWG partners to implement effective measures against campylobacter as soon as practical.

  1. About the Interventions

BPC members are trialling a variety of interventions in their businesses and exchanging information on which approach works best in reducing campylobacter while maintaining product quality. Not every intervention is appropriate for each set of circumstances.

Process Stage Intervention Description
Farm Biosecurity Red Tractor standards now have enhanced biosecurity built into them. This includes, foot dips, clothing requirements and biosecurity barriers.
  No thinning Birds in poultry houses that are not thinned are all taken to slaughter at the same time. This reduces the human/bird interaction, and minimises the opportunity for campylobacter to be brought into a flock.
Catching Improved practices Revised Red Tractor standards also include the requirement that catching teams abide by the same biosecurity standards as farm staff and that all equipment is disinfected with a DEFRA approved disinfectant prior to use.
Transport Crate and Module washing Poultry is transported to the slaughterhouse in creates contained in a module. These will be thoroughly washed prior to re-use to prevent cross contamination between flocks.
Slaughterhouse Re-scalding Slaughtered poultry is scalded prior to de-feathering to loosen the feathers. They may be scalded a second time after de-feathering to remove any contamination.
  Improved washing All BPC producers will ensure that they optimise the maintenance and adjustment of their carcass washing systems to ensure a maximum level of cleaning of each bird.
  Temperature treatment As part of the chilling process, some producers will be trialling temperature treatment of the birds to reduce and remaining levels of bacteria.


Sonosteam treatment works as follows:


The zone of air closest to the surface serves as a protective mantel restricting vapour and heat exchange across the surface. This layer is often referred to as the laminar sub-layer.
The ultrasound sets the air of the laminar zone in a state with intensified molecular oscillations, causing the steam to be continuously pumped and forced towards the very surface of the target material. This results in a destruction of the protective characteristics of the laminar sub-layer and hot steam can now enter microstructures and pits in the surface and secure fast heat transfer. The continuous pumping of new steam creates a fast, substantial flux of heat to the surface structure.

Due to the small size of microorganisms, these are heated and killed so quickly that the depth of heat entrance into the surface of the product is kept at a minimum. Therefore, the treatment can be stopped before the surface is sensory affected. That is why the effective processing time in a SonoSteam® treatment is very short and for some applications even shorter than one second.


Cold temperature treatments work as follows:


In one technology the surface of the birds is exposed to a liquid nitrogen spray at -196 degree Centigrade for a few seconds to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degrees Centigrade) and kill bacteria.


Another technology uses the liquid nitrogen to chill air, which again is used to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degree Centigrade) and kill bacteria.


Packaging Novel packaging Some producers and retailers are packaging that does not need to be removed prior to cooking, removing an opportunity for cross contamination in the kitchen
Kitchen Education The BPC and its members continue to educate the public about the need for good kitchen hygiene to avoid cross contamination and thorough cooking.
  1. Chicken Statistics

Chicken is the most popular meat eaten in the UK. In 2014 about 900 million British birds were bred, hatched, reared, and slaughtered in this country. We also imported the equivalent of (as cuts, portions, and products) another 400 million birds, the majority of which was from other European countries. We can also estimate how many times chicken is eaten every year in the UK. 95% of the population (60.9 million people) eat chicken, and they tend to do so at least twice a week. Over the course of a year that is 6.3 billion occasions where chicken is eaten in homes, schools, hospitals, and restaurants across the country.

  1. About the British Poultry Council

The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included just over 900 million chicken broilers in 2014 (up from just over 780 million in 2001). Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2012, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK.


13 new scholars have joined the BPC’s scholarship scheme at Harper Adams


To find out more please click here.

150211 BPC full group_email

Update: low pathogenic Avian Influenza on Poultry Farm


The avian influenza which was detected on a broiler breeder farm in Hampshire on Monday 2nd February has now been confirmed as the low pathogen H7N7.


Further information:
Chris Potter 07540 501173

CCTV in slaughterhouses debate – Blog


The debate on CCTV in slaughterhouses, initiated by Henry Smith MP, is a timely one and to be welcomed. It gives an opportunity to show how technology is helping the poultry industry improve efficiency in how we feed the nation.

The recent survey by the FSA (Animal Welfare Survey 2013) showed that 55% of white meat slaughterhouses now use CCTV. In terms of throughput that means that 98% of all poultry slaughtered in the UK is now covered by CCTV as a matter of course. BPC members have found CCTV an incredibly useful resource for managing many aspects of the slaughter process, and this tool is made readily available to the authorities.

We should bear in mind that CCTV is not an absolute guarantee of animal welfare. A responsible poultry slaughterhouse always uses it in conjunction with high hygiene standards, comprehensive employee training, and independent auditing. Good animal welfare practices are more likely to occur with good training and motivation and a management system that is able to respond immediately to incidents.

Public confidence within the meat sector will no doubt have been knocked by the recent images taken by Animal Aid, and available on their website. Producers have an important duty of care to animals and it is important that the right checks and balances are  implemented to ensure appropriate accountability. Responsible producers of meat production will never condone sub-standard or illegal behaviour and the BPC supports all enforcement measures taken to eliminate it.

FSA gives advice on bird flu (H7)


Please follow the link to the latest advice from the Food Standards Agency on Bird Flu – http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2015/13516/fsa-advice-on-bird-flu-h7 

BPC statement on low pathogenic Avian Influenza on Poultry Farm


Defra have confirmed this evening that low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) has been detected on a broiler breeder farm in Hampshire.

A 1km restriction zone has been put in place around the infected premises and the poultry on the farm will be culled. Animal and Plant Health Agency investigations are ongoing into the source of the disease.

Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “Swift action is being taken to control the outbreak and we are monitoring the situation closely. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and Public Health England have stated that the risk to public health is very low, whilst the Food Standards Agency state that there is no food safety risk for consumers”.

Poultry farmers are urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security.


For further information please contact Chris Potter on 07540 501 173.

About avian influenza

Avian influenza is a virus that causes disease in birds. Poultry, pigeons and wild or migratory birds, such as ducks, swans, and geese, can become infected with the virus. There are two forms of the virus: high pathogenicity (HPAI) and low pathogenicity (LPAI). Pathogenicity indicates the severity of the disease if the bird contracts the virus.

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection. The severity of LPAI depends on the type of bird and whether it has any other illnesses.


British Poultry Council calls on Government to help industry deliver long-term success for the UK


London, 3 December 2014 - The British Poultry Council has launched its ‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Industry’ today, calling on the Government to help ensure long-term success for the British Poultry meat industry and help deliver its 2020 vision.

The policy manifesto was launched at the Annual Poultry Awards in the House of Commons, hosted by EFRA Chair Anne McIntosh and with Food and Farming Minister George Eustice MP as guest speaker. It sets out the industry’s high ambitions for 2020, centring on its ability to produce consistently safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food for British families and foreign market.

BPC have called on the government’s help to:

  1. Create the conditions needed to realise growth and export potential.
  2. Ensure rearing poultry remains affordable to British farmers by securing long-term feed supplies.
  3. Promote the dietary benefits and affordability of British poultry meats.

At the launch, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council Andrew Large said: “We are delighted to launch our Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry today. It is an exciting time for the sector with continued UK growth and increasing consumption, as well as significant potential export opportunities.

“But we need the government’s help to ensure that we can realise this potential, whilst at the same time continue to produce consistently safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food for British families at home and abroad.

“This manifesto clearly sets out our aims for the industry over the next five years, and the steps government can take to help ensure our vision is turned into reality. We will speak to all of the main parties ahead of the general election and hope that our policies will be adopted in their respective manifestos”.

Poultry is Britain’s favourite meat and accounts for almost half (46%) of all meat eaten in the UK, nearly the same volume as beef, pork and lamb combined. The industry makes a £3.3bn gross value add contribution to UK GDP, supports £1bn in total tax payable to the Exchequer and supports 73,200 UK jobs.

BPC have high ambitions for the sector going forward, and the document sets out their vision for 2020, including:

  • Growing the value of UK poultry meat year on year – including exports.
  • Growing employment in the sector, contributing to rebalancing UK jobs and growth.
  • UK wide recognition poultry is a lean and nutritious meat that should be part of a healthy UK diet.
  • British poultry remains affordable for British families and Britain’s favourite meat, with poultry accounting for over half of all meat eaten in the UK.
  • A continued decline in levels of campylobacter.


Media contact

For more information call Chris Potter on 07540 501173 or email bpc@hanovercomms.com

Notes to Editor

1. About the ‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry’

‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry’ sets out a clear plan of action for government to ensure the long-term success of the British poultry meat industry. The document outlines the industry’s 2020 Vision and the steps government can take to help ensure this is turned into a reality. 

BPC’s 2020 Vision

  • Growing the value of UK poultry meat year on year- including exports
  • Growing employment in the sector, contributing to rebalancing UK jobs and growth
  • UK wide recognition poultry is a lean and nutritious meat that should be part of a healthy UK diet
  • British poultry remains affordable for British families and Britain’s favourite meat, with poultry accounting for over half of all meat eaten in the UK
  • A continued decline in levels of campylobacter

Policy Asks

‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Industry’ seeks government’s help to:

  • Create the conditions needed to realise growth and export potential, including defending industry interests in TTIP negotiations.
  • Ensure rearing poultry remains affordable to British farmers by securing long- term feed supplies, with a particular focus on lowering the reliance on soya feed by urging the EU to remove legislative barriers to the UK using insect protein in animal feeds.
  • Promoting the dietary benefits and affordability of British Poultry meats, including revising food and catering procurement guidance to the public sector in order to increase the volume of poultry meat eaten in schools, hospitals and by the armed forces.

2. To view the manifesto please click here: Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry