Quantcast
Latest Stories

China bird flu outbreak spurs food safety fears


In this photo taken on Monday, April 8, 2013, a poultry vendor examines a chicken at a market in Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang province. The World Health Organization is talking with the Chinese government about sending international experts to China to help investigate a new bird flu strain that has sickened at least 24 people, killing seven of them. AP Photo/CHINA OUT

SHANGHAI – China’s bird flu outbreak is “devastating” poultry sales, an industry group said Tuesday, as the H7N9 virus which has killed seven people triggered a new food safety scare.

Since China announced over a week ago that H7N9 avian influenza had been found in humans for the first time, the number of people infected has risen to 24, almost half in the eastern city of Shanghai.

Chinese authorities say they do not know how the virus is spreading, though it is believed the infection is passing from birds to humans.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no evidence H7N9 is passing from person to person — a development that has the potential to trigger a pandemic.

Authorities have advised the public to avoid live birds but offered reassurances that poultry and eggs that are still on sale are safe to eat if cooked properly.

However, state media said that poultry sales have plunged in some areas of China, even regions that have so far recorded no human infections.

“It’s really a devastating blow to the market for broilers,” said Qiu Baoqin, vice secretary general of China’s National Poultry Industry Association. Broilers are young chickens sold ready for cooking.

“The impact is extremely big,” she said.

In the northern city of Shijiazhuang, daily chicken sales have tumbled more than 50 percent from a week earlier at the city’s largest agricultural market, the state-backed China News Service reported.

Shanghai has culled more than 111,000 birds, banned trading in live poultry and shut markets in a bid to curb the outbreak.

Nanjing and Suzhou cities followed suit by banning live poultry trading, while Hangzhou culled poultry after discovering infected quail.

Domestic airlines, including budget carrier Spring and Xiamen Airlines, have yanked chicken from the menu after complaints from passengers, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said.

China has been hit by a series of food scandals in recent years, some caused by producers deliberately using sub-standard or illegal ingredients, making the public wary over what they consume.

The country was rocked by one of its biggest-ever food safety scandals in 2008, when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six and making 300,000 ill.

A decade ago, China also faced accusations it covered up the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed about 800 people globally, but the WHO has praised Beijing’s transparency for H7N9.

“The authorities seem to have learned the necessary lessons from the SARS outbreak,” the China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.

As China battled the new strain, neighbouring Vietnam on Tuesday reported its first death in more than a year from the better known H5N1 bird flu strain. The latest victim was a four-year-old child from a farming family.

Last week Hanoi banned all Chinese poultry imports and stepped up border controls, including passenger temperature checks, in response to the new H7N9 strain in China.

Meanwhile Cambodia, which neighbours Vietnam, has also been hit with a recent unexplained spike in deaths from H5N1 which has killed eight people so far this year in the kingdom, including six children.

The H5N1 virus has killed more than 370 people around the world since a major outbreak in Asia a decade ago.

Analysts said the bird flu outbreak could hurt China’s overall economy — the world’s second-largest — though the effect was expected to be temporary.

“Past experiences told us that the negative impact from such epidemics won’t last too long and ensuing pent-up demand could be quite strong, so there is no need for panic,” China economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Lu Ting, said in a report.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bird flu , China , Food , Health , Safety




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement