The UK's Food Standards Agency said this morning (15 February) that it has gathered sufficient evidence to conclude that Bernard Matthews did not hold poultry imported from bird flu restriction zones in Hungary at its cold stores in Holton and Chesterfield.

Bernard Matthews, Europe's largest poultry processor, has come under attack in the media for allegedly importing bird flu from Hungary to the UK. However, the FSA said that it has found no evidence to support such claims.

After initially suggesting that there was a "remote possibility" that meat held at these storage facilities originated from inside bird flu restriction zone, the agency cleared the meat products the company has been voluntarily holding at their cold store for the past 48 hours to be released into the food chain.

"Bernard Matthews wants to make it clear that consumers have been reassured by the FSA that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk to UK consumers and properly-cooked poultry is perfectly safe to eat," the company said in a statement. Bernard Matthews added that it was continuing to assist the FSA's and Defra's investigations into the avian flu outbreak

The FSA is currently working on a report examining how bird flu reached the UK in conjunction with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Health Protection Agency. The findings of the report are due to be released later this week, the agency said.