Belfast Telegraph

Poultry farm in Tyrone searched after antibiotics consignment intercepted

Chickens at a poultry farm (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Chickens at a poultry farm (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The Department of Health is investigating whether a large consignment of Chinese antibiotics seized at a UK airport were destined for unregulated use on a Northern Ireland poultry farm.

The medicine was intercepted at a British airport last week and enforcement authorities in Northern Ireland were alerted.

A number of items were removed for examination from a Co Tyrone farm, which supplies Moy Park, following a search.

The investigation is being headed by the Department of Health alongside the PSNI and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the The Guardian reported.

A DoH spokesperson said the investigation was being led by its Medicines Regulatory Group.

“A multi-agency operation was carried out on Thursday in the Co Tyrone area in pursuance of offences under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013,” they added.

“A number of items were removed for examination.

“An investigation is ongoing.”

The Food Standards Agency said it is working to ensure there is no risk to the food chain.

The medicine is believed to be the antibiotic amoxicillin, which is approved for use as a veterinary medicine in the UK.

It is supposed to be administered only under veterinary supervision and there are restrictions on its import.

Moy Park, which supplies most leading UK retailers with chicken, confirmed the farm was “at an independently owned, contract supply farm”.

“This matter is being investigated by the relevant authorities and we believe it is an isolated incident,” a spokesperson said.

Moy Park said the industry was subject to “robust antibiotic residue monitoring procedures” carried out by Government vets and test results across its supply farms had been negative.

“Any breach of the strict regulation on the use of veterinary medicine is unlawful and completely unacceptable to us.”

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