Chicken sales have fallen dramatically even though the H7N9 avian influenza virus has not spread in Taiwan, creating an “unexpected misfortune” for chicken farmers, the Poultry Association of the Republic of China said yesterday.
Association official Lee Ching-kun (李清焜) said chicken sales have been hit hard over concerns that there might be an H7N9 outbreak in Taiwan, plunging 40 to 50 percent last month from April last year.
Even though the only H7N9 case in Taiwan was a man who contracted the disease in China, the news brought “unexpected misfortune” to farmers, Lee said at an event the association held to promote chicken products.
“Had there been an outbreak, chicken farmers would have been the first ones to be infected,” Lee said.
Consumers could feel confident when buying locally raised chickens and eggs, he said.
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基), who was invited to the event, said food processing practices in Taiwan, from feeding and slaughtering to shipping, all conform to international sanitary standards.
He would personally guarantee the safety of locally raised chickens, Chen said.
Although the H7N9 virus is not a threat in Taiwan, the Department of Health has advised consumers to maintain good hygiene practices, including washing one’s hands frequently, keeping raw and cooked meat separate and making sure chicken products and eggs are fully cooked before consuming them.