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President’s verdict: no need to panic over bird fl

In a considerate and consolatory statement President Jacques Chirac of France has asked people to feel safe and insists that eating poultry is safe and panic unjustified.//

This came after European Union's first outbreak of the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu in commercial poultry was confirmed in France.

The Agriculture Ministry has confirmed after lab tests that H5N1 in turkeys at a farm of more than 11,000 birds in the southeast Ain region of France have been detected. The farm has been sealed off.

Still, according to Chirac there is "no danger in eating poultry and eggs" and that panic among consumers is "totally unjustified".

"In any case, the virus in question ... is automatically destroyed by cooking. So there is strictly no danger," was the statement issued by Chirac on inaugurating an agricultural fare. He spoke after meeting vets and representatives of poultry farmers.

Japan had already on Friday temporarily suspended imports of French poultry, including the delicacy foie gras, meat and other internal organs after this news about bird flu in France. This was said by the Japanese embassy in Paris.

In 2005, Japan imported 1,510 metric tons of duck and other poultry meat and 377 metric tons of internal organs, including foie gras, from France. So it is a setback for the poultry economy.


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