The UK farm and hatchery facilities from which Cobb Europe exports broiler breeding stock have been granted “GB enhanced compartment” status, the mechanism under which breeding stock can continue to be supplied to customers even when outbreaks of avian influenza or Newcastle disease in a particular country would normally restrict exports.
Approved by the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the new status covers Cobb Europe’s great grandparent and grandparent stock farms in East Anglia and the East Midlands and the grandparent hatchery in Norfolk. These units not only supply breeding stock across the Cobb Europe region, serving the Middle East and Africa, but to customers globally.
“In a world where there is a real need to manage trade and maintain a secure supply to all customers, notifiable disease outbreaks are becoming a significant concern,” said Cobb Europe’s quality assurance coordinator, Lyndsey Cassidy.
“Poultry breeding stock is now shipped around the world from a small number of primary breeding companies and outbreaks of both avian influenza and Newcastle disease can severely impact trade as national governments can choose to block imports from affected countries for weeks or even months.
“Maintaining country freedom from notifiable diseases is no longer a viable approach to preserving open trade routes, and this is why achieving the compartment status is so important not only to breeding companies like Cobb but to customers who rely on regular imports to continue their own production.”
The concept of ‘compartments’ was introduced by the World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in 2004, recognising businesses which operate to such a high standard of biosecurity that they can ensure their facilities will remain disease free even in the event of a notifiable disease outbreak in their country.
The UK introduced its own version of compartmentalisation n 2009. adopting all the rules of the EU standard, while requiring additional enhanced serological testing and biosecurity.
“After comprehensive auditing of procedures and facilities, the APHA has recognised that Cobb Europe operates to the high standards required to be included in the GB Enhanced Compartmentalisation Scheme,” said Ms Cassidy.