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Bird Flu Not in Well-Cooked Dishes.

Posted February. 11, 2004 23:06,   


“It is safe to eat Korean chicken or duck dishes.”

The South Korean government is putting up an all-out effort to prop up the chicken and duck industries amid mounting concerns over the rapid spread of the avian flu in Asia.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and related agencies, along with Korean chicken and duck associations, launched a committee to boost the consumption of livestock and agreed to carry out a set of measures to encourage the eating of chicken and duck, which has drastically fallen since the outbreak of the bird flu epidemic.

The ministry said in the committee that it will encourage the Korean Medical Association, the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine, and the Korean Pharmaceutical Association to host a series of sampling events showing doctors eating poultry dishes like the one the ministry held in Seoul National University Hospital, as such events turned out to be effective to relieve public fears about eating poultry dishes.

The ministry added that it will also sponsor a series of sampling events featuring sports stars to promote the youth’s consumption of chicken and duck dishes.

The ministry also said it, with the help of the Chicken Restaurant Industry Association, will move forward with a plan to issue chicken discount coupons which enable consumers to buy chicken with a 20% reduced price at chicken chain stores.

After designating every Wednesday as the day for eating chicken and duck, it is planning to have cafeterias in government complexes, related agencies, and local self-governing bodies serve chicken and duck dishes every Wednesday.

It will provide military and schools with more chicken and duck dishes and offer 700 tons of chicken and duck to welfare facilities for free through food banks.

Lee Jae-yong, livestock management chief in the ministry, said the consumption of chicken and duck has shrunk by as much as 50 and 90 percent, respectively, since the bird flu occurred, adding that the ministry will conduct a series of campaigns to encourage the eating of poultry foods because not one case has been reported of a human being infected through food by the bird flu.

Medical experts unanimously said the bird flu is not transmitted through well-cooked foods since the virus cannot survive above 75 degrees or more in temperature (Fahrenheit).

“People will not contract the bird flu by eating Korean chicken and duck dishes because South Koreans do not live together with livestock or distribute non-inspected raw chicken in the country unlike in Vietnam or Thailand,” Kim Jae-hong at the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service said.

Jin-Hup Song jinhup@donga.com