Many people with different cultural and religious backgrounds perceive white
meat as a healthier and more desirable choice than red meat. Has the industry
taken advantage of this great demand? What has the industry done over the past
few years to reassure consumers about poultry product safety? Does the industry
realize that it takes time to regain consumer
Many people with different cultural and religious
backgrounds perceive white meat as a healthier and more desirable choice than
red meat. Has the industry taken advantage of this great demand? What has the
industry done over the past few years to reassure consumers about poultry
product safety? Does the industry realize that it takes time to regain consumer
The world population continues to grow about 100 million people per year
and will be 9 billion by year 2040. The daily consumption of protein in
developed and industrialized countries is about 65 grams while in the less
developed countries it hardly is 15 grams.
Low cost, nutritional values and high digestibility have
always been considered as important reasons of high demands for poultry meat.
After a brief recovery in 2005, global meat markets
in 2006 have
again been affected by consumer concerns over animal disease. BSE and FMD
related bans on red meat exports continue. Infections with Avian influenza of
over 224 people provided a favourable ground for consumer reactions which
subsequently put tremendous downward pressure on poultry consumption.
The shift in consumption of poultry meat led to
rapid build-up of stocks and price declines. Based on the recent report of
, global poultry meat production
has almost remained steady in spite of avian influenza outbreaks. Now, it seems
that poultry meat consumption rate is recovering but we all know that it will
not be a rapid recovery.
In addition to food safety issues, price has always been an
important element in family food basket. Does low price of chicken meat
accelerate this recovery? What the industry is doing now to get per capita
consumption rate back to normal?
No consistant approach
There is no doubt that the risk of
zoonotic diseases (transmitted from animals to humans) is ever-present.
Unfortunately, experts' approaches to address avian influenza-related issues
have not been consistent.
Some of them have put this issue in a
professional perspective and the others have touched it from a negative
standpoint. What role mass media have played? Have they had a sound
scientific-based approach to avian influenza and its possible hazards for human
I am not trying to underestimate possible
risks but I want to emphasize that we should try to move based on facts. Keeping
consumers informed should be a top priority for media but "over-reacting" could
be a double edge sword.
hand, it scares consumers and on other one hand jeopardizes the poultry
industry. As you might have noticed, we do not hear much news about avian
influenza these days. Media are now mainly focused on other topics such as wars,
hurricanes, elections, etc.
Does this mean
that avian influenza does not pose any significant threat to human health at this time?
Who knows we may see a new wave of bird flu headlines within a few weeks or
months from now? It is really interesting. Isn't it?