British Poultry Council chairman Ted Wright urged goose and turkey producers to take extra precautions in the run up to Christmas.

He highlighted the recent discovery of swine flu in two turkey flocks in Argentina at the recent British Goose Producers’ farm walk at Peach Croft Farm in Oxfordshire.

Just hours after the event, Canadian officials confirmed a case in a flock of breeder turkey hens in Ontario. A reduction in hatching egg production had prompted an investigation and the producer has agreed to quarenteen his flock.

As a precautionary measure, Mr Wright suggested workers wearing face masks when going into enclosed areas with birds.

“If workers get flu, they should opt out of the feeding rota. The last thing we want as a sector is any scare or problems in the weeks coming up to Christmas.

“Please remember avian flu type diseases now go both ways, not just from birds to people, but also people to birds.