Junior DEFRA minister Jeff Rooker stated in a House of Lords debate on 22 February that the recent H5N1 avian flu outbreak was “exclusively a Bernard Matthews Holton problem”.

In response to a question from liberal democrat, Lord Dykes, about the source of the H5N1 outbreak, confirmed on 3 February, Lord Rooker said:  “No evidence of H5N1 has been found other than in the Bernard Matthews plant at Holton. 

“It appears that this is exclusively a Bernard Matthews Holten problem.  There is no evidence of H5N1 anywhere in the wild bird, intensive poultry or free-range poultry populations in this country.”