Poultry still on the menu in Suffolk

CONSUMERS in Suffolk appear to be unfazed by the news bird flu has reached Britain according to farm shop owners.Sales of poultry have remained constant at farm shops in the county, despite recent confirmation that a swan in Scotland had tested positive for the virus.

CONSUMERS in Suffolk appear to be unfazed by the news bird flu has reached Britain according to farm shop owners.

Sales of poultry have remained constant at farm shops in the county, despite recent confirmation that a swan in Scotland had tested positive for the virus.

Nick Hardingham, partner at the Alder Carr Farm Shop in Creeting St. Mary, said: “There has not been any change that I'm aware of.

“There seems to have been no reaction to it at all, either by selling more or by less, and it is just carrying on as normal.

“It might help us that we are selling local produce so people know where it comes from which increases their confidence.”

He said that he did not think that bird flu would be as bad for chicken sales as BSE had been for beef but added: “This is just as long as the government don't over react and scare people.”

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His thoughts were echoed by Alison Youngman whose husband owns the Grange Farm Shop on Grundisburgh Road, Hasketon.

She said: “There hasn't been any change because our customers know where their meat comes from and how the animals have been looked after.

“Everybody worries about things but even when the news about bird flu came out I thought things would continue as normal.

“We didn't even get less people buying beef during the problems with BSE.”

And Government advisers have said the discovery of a swan with the H5N1 virus in Scotland last week does not mean that bird flu is in Britain.

Sir David King, top scientific adviser for the government said the bird could have come from an area of Europe that had previously been infected and that the likelihood of the bird virus mutating into a form that can be transferred from human to human is "very low.”

Will you continue to eat poultry? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail at eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Weblink: www.food.gov.uk

Bird Flu

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a disease of birds, not humans. People can become infected but rarely are.

There are 15 types of bird flu, one of which is the deadly H5N1 virus.

The first human case of bird flu was discovered in Hong Kong in 1997 when a three-year-old boy died.

As of February 13 2006, there were 169 cases of H5N1 in humans in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Turkey and Iraq, leading to 91 deaths.

Chicken is currently safe to eat as long as it is cooked to a temperature of at least 70C.

Source: Food Standards Agency