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Europeans advised to keep bird flu away
www.chinaview.cn 2005-10-26 18:06:43

    LONDON, Oct. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- While the poultry industry is struggling to contain a sharp decline in sales under the shadow of bird flu, Europeans are advised to avoid eating raw eggs and cook chicken carefully, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

    The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is expected to release an advisory note on Wednesday, which suggests avoiding eating raw eggs and proper cooking to prevent the disease from entering the human food chain, the report said.

    The EFSA says its warning is in line with the views of the World Health Organization and other scientific organizations, as well as standard advice to combat more widespread diseases like salmonella, of which there were 135,000 cases in the European Union (EU) in 2003.

    However, it recognizes that the current scientific evidence is not sufficient to rule out the possibility that the deadly H5N1 virus could spread to people through food.

    The precautionary warning comes as the 15-billion-euro (about 18 billion US dollars) European poultry industry struggles to contain a sharp decline in sales because of consumers' concerns about the spreading bird flu.

    In Italy, chicken consumption fell about 40 percent last month. Italian farmers on Tuesday held demonstrations to reassure the public about eating chicken.

    Following a recent outbreak in Turkey, the bird flu disease has been gradually spreading across Europe.

    The EU is introducing a ban on imports of captive wild birds after a parrot died of the H5N1 strain while in quarantine in the UK.

    On Tuesday, France joined Germany and a handful of other European countries in imposing new curbs on farmers and ordering that poultry be kept indoors in 21 French regions considered most at risk. Enditem

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