Even as Delhi 'chickens out', Mah govt backs poultry

Maharashtra has not banned sale of poultry products, but sales drop by 25-30 pc, amidst bird flu scare.

Credit : Magicpin

A statement issued by the Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh on Wednesday said, “It is completely safe to eat eggs and poultry meat, if the eggs and poultry meat are cooked for 30 minutes at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius.” On the contrary, the North and South Delhi Municipal Corporations have banned the sale of chicken in their respective regions due to confirmed cases of bird flu, also warning restaurants against serving eggs or poultry meat.

Maharashtra has not banned the sale of poultry products to the relief of poultry farm owners across the state. However, cases of bird flu confirmed in Maharashtra, the sale of poultry meat has reduced by around 25 to 30 percent, as per the Maharashtra Breeders and Poultry Association.

“This has been happening every year since 2006. When the news of bird flu cases is circulated, the sale of chicken and eggs is affected. We are hoping that it will go back to normal in seven to eight days, now that the government has also stated that it is safe to eat eggs and poultry meat,” Raju Thorat, member of Maharashtra Breeders and Poultry Association said. The government has also asked people not to spread misconceptions and rumours based on unscientific information about bird flu.

“In the last few days, we have hardly had any customers. People are scared to buy chicken and eggs due to the fear of bird flu infection. This does happen every year, but with the Coronavirus pandemic as well, it’s worse this time. It's a bad time for business,” said an employee at a Chicken shop in Pune. Several sellers of eggs and poultry meat across the state have complained of chicken sales going down even before the cases of bird flu were confirmed in Maharashtra, when they were detected in other states.

As far as the confirmed cases in Maharashtra are concerned, presently, all of the poultry birds within 1 km radius of the infected poultry farm at Murumba, taluka district Parbhani approximately 5,500 birds and 11,060 birds from Latur are being culled. But in Mumbai, Ghodbander (Thane district) and Dapoli and Beed only surveillance will be continued, as per the Animal Husbandry Commissioner.

“Poultry farming is an important aspect of the rural economy. Hence, rumours related to the disease must be avoided. The government has anyway released an advisory for the farm owners to tighten biosecurity at the farms to ensure that the poultry birds do not come in contact with the wild birds at any cost. We have also been asked to maintain more hygiene,” Thorat said.

The authorities have also asked the owners of poultry farms and the general public to give an immediate intimation of mortality in crows, parrots, herons or in migratory birds in any village or of any unusual mortality of poultry birds in commercial farms as well as in the backyard poultry.

“The intimation should also be given on the Toll free no. 18002330418. It is advised that the dead birds should not be touched with bare hands and post mortem of such dead birds should not be conducted. The birds should not be disposed off without intimation to the local veterinarian,” the advisory issued by the Animal Husbandry Commissioner stated.

The restaurants and eateries in Pune have not stopped serving chicken though, while ensuring that the chicken and eggs are cooked well (as usual) while serving. "The restaurants in Maharashtra too will be continuing to serve cooked chicken and egg dishes. "We anyway do not serve cold chicken. All our egg and meat dishes are cooked. So we will not be making any changes," Ganesh Shetty, President, Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association, said. The restaurants have not yet made any changes to the procurement of poultry products as well.