After bird flu found, industry braces for worst

Posted on : 2006-11-27 15:16 KST Modified on : 2006-11-27 15:16 KST
Sales of chicken meat drop by 30%
 due to worries over bird flu being spread.
due to worries over bird flu being spread.

With the avian influenza found in Iksan, North Jeolla Province confirmed as a highly virulent strain, poultry farms and distributors are trying to prevent a huge drop in sales. The government has stepped in, as well, taking powerful preventive measures to curb a spread of the disease among poultry.

According to poultry farms and officials of the meat distribution industry on November 26, since the outbreak of the disease between November 23 and 25, sales of poultry have decreased nationwide about 10 to 30 percent. When a previous bird flu case was found in South Korea in December 2003, chicken consumption fell more than 40 percent.

In the case of Korea's largest chicken meat provider, Halim, orders of the meat dropped about 10 percent between November 23 and 24 and more than 20 percent on November 25. The Korea Chicken Council (KCC) said that on November 23, industry orders of chicken meat fell about 20 percent overall, but that number was as high as 30 percent on the weekend.

At Homeplus, the nation's second-largest discounter and operated by Samsung Tesco, sales of chicken meat went down about 25 percent between November 23 to 25, compared to the same period last year. Sales of eggs also dropped about 15 percent. However, E-Mart, Korea's biggest discount chain store, which held "chicken meat bargain sales" between November 23 and 29, has witnessed an increase of 93 percent from the same period last year.

The chicken meat distribution industry has prepared a special sale event to help poultry farmers, and it plans to give consumers a proper understanding of bird flu and to inform them that chicken meat on the market is safe. Lee Jae-ha, an official of the KCC said, "As not only infected chickens but also those suspected of being infected are slaughtered, tainted meat can't be circulated. We will let consumers know that chicken meat on the market is safe."

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