A FARM and produce shop has said it is having to cull all birds on site after some caught bird flu.

Blackwells Farm Produce & Farm Shop in Coggeshall announced the sad news in a statement today.

Avian Influenza, which is also known as bird flu, has been detected across Essex in recent months.

In early September, a case was confirmed just outside Tolleshunt Major, Maldon, which was the third outbreak in Essex in the last year.

A couple of weeks later, an emergency control zone was put in place after the Government confirmed cases of bird flu near Clacton.

A warning was also issued after the virus was discovered at a property in Stoke-by-Nayland, near Colchester.

No cases have been confirmed in humans.

Now, the farm shop in Coggeshall has said it will have to cull all birds on site after birds caught the flu.

A statement reads: “Although this year we were celebrating 40 years of turkey and geese production, our birds have unfortunately caught the Avian Influenza Virus, which has been devastating, as this means all our birds on this site will be culled.

“We are making plans to organise other sources of turkey and geese and we hope we can still rear our large chickens and ducks, which are based on another site.

“This is a massive blow to us as poultry is the backbone and root of our business, and we have always been passionate about our birds.

“Defra has been on site and are still permitting the farm shop to remain open, they have stressed there is no link of this virus to humans.

“We hope you will still support us, and we will be letting you know as soon as possible what poultry we will be able to offer you.

“For those of you who have already pre-ordered, we will be refunding you.

“As you can appreciate these are difficult times, but we remain positive and apologise to you for having to alter your plans.

“There are no problems with the supply of our beef, lamb, pork and various other meats.”

Following the recent outbreak in Stoke-by-Nayland, John Spence, Essex councillor for adult social care and health, said: “The risk of anyone becoming infected as a result of an outbreak like this is extremely low.

“Nevertheless, it is important we put the correct precautions in place and by working with Defra and our county and district partners this is what we have done.

“We will be visiting premises around the site of the outbreak, and offering information and advice, over the coming days.”