Chicken, Egg Sales Dip Due to Bird Flu Scare
INDIA – The bird flu scare that’s gripping Bengaluru city following the death of eight chickens due to avian flu has affected sale of chicken meat.
According to The Times of India, Dr B G Puttanna, head of the technical committee in Karnataka Poultry Framers’ and Breeders’ Association (KPFBA) said that over the last three days, the city has seen a 20-25 per cent dip in sales of chicken meat and eggs.
Bengaluru consumes three lakh birds or 4 lakh kg of chicken meat every day.
Russell Market traders said that compared to Wednesday, there was a 25 per cent dip in sales on Thursday. “Buyers are concerned about safety and want to know about the health of the birds, as it could be life threatening. However, it’s the country birds that got affected by the virus and not broiler chicken,” said Abdul Hafeez Jaleel, a wholesale chicken and egg dealer at Russell Market.
On 29 December, eight birds died in a chicken shop in Bhuvaneshwari Nagar and reports from National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, confirmed that the deaths were due to H5N1 influenza virus. While the animal husbandry and fisheries department issued a notification declaring 1-10km radius of Bhuvaneshwari Nagar as ‘surveillance zone’ and 1km around the chicken centre as ‘infected zone’, the impact of the ban is being felt beyond Bhuvaneshwari Nagar.
Dr Puttanna recalled that a chicken mela had to be organized in 2006 to push sale of chicken, following similar reports of avian flu infection. “We had VIPs and actors taking part in the mela, where chicken dishes were cooked, sold and eaten to prove it’s safe to consume chicken,” he said.
Avian flu being a communicable and notifiable disease is likely to have its impact on the sale of chicken for some time, he conceded.
“In 2015, when avian flu was detected, birds in Hesaraghatta government farm were culled. That time too, sales were hit. While sales did go down recently, now they are returning to normal,” said Shyam Udupa, director, Nutri Feeds and Farms Private Limited.
Manjesh Kumar, general secretary, KPFBA, however, maintained the impact hasn’t been that significant. “There will always be a fluctuation of 10-20 per cent in the sale of birds, especially on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays as some communities don’t eat non-veg on these days,” he said.
Dr G Anand of the animal husbandry wing, BBMP, said sale of egg and chicken has been prohibited only in the infected zone (within 1km of the shop where the birds died). “It’s safe to consume eggs and chicken meat from all other shops of the city. If the chicken is boiled up to 70 degrees Celsius, it’s safer,” he said. The BBMP, however, has taken precautionary measures in creating awareness among residents of Yelhanka zone.