EU citizens eating less poultry, avian flu survey finds

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Avian influenza European union Transmission and infection of h5n1 Eu

About 48 per cent of those who reduced their consumption, ornine
per cent of those surveyed, said they were aware of a potential

Asthey were unable to measure it, they preferred to adopt a cautious attitude,the survey found.

About 15 per cent ofthis group, or three per cent of all EU25 citizens, were convinced that therisk of eating poultry meat was real.

On the other hand, 28 per cent, or five per cent of thetotal, believed there was no real risk involved in eating poultry meat, eventhough they decided to eat less.

Results show that more than three quarters of the group,representing 14 per cent of the total, perceived this change as temporary.

A total of 13 per cent, or three per cent of those living inall of the EU 25 countries, declared they had reduced their consumption ofpoultry meat forever.

Consumption of poultry meat has dropped by more than half insome EU states, with 300,000 tonnes and more in storage across the bloc,according to previous EU estimates. Import measures have also restricted thesources processors can use for their supplies of poultry meat.

The survey also found that EU citizens "are well informedabout avian influenza and have confidence in the actions of EU and nationalauthorities to tackle it".

However the European Commission survey found "significantgaps" in the public's knowledge remain about the risks.

The survey, conducted in March and April with 25,000 people,found that between 70 per cent to 80 per cent of respondents correctlyidentified specific surveillance, control and eradication measures taken toprevent and contain avian flu outbreaks.

A total of 70 per cent of respondents agree that EU publicauthorities are guided in their actions by genuine concern about the health ofEuropean citizens.

However, the survey reveals that a significant percentage ofEuropeans remain unsure about certain basic facts about avian flu. For example,28 per cent do not know that avian flu cannot be transmitted through properlycooked eggs and poultry meat, according to figures released on 7 July.

About 74 per cent of respondents displayed a very goodawareness that if humans touch infected birds they can be infected.

About 77 per cent displayed a "very good awareness" of therequirement to confine poultry indoors in risk areas. About 78 per cent wereaware of import restrictions from third countries affected by avian flu.

However 18 per cent of respondents think that it is notpossible to catch avian influenza by touching contaminated birds and 11 percent are not aware that vaccination against seasonal influenza is not effectiveagainst avian influenza.

About 28 per cent declare that avian flu can be transmittedthrough cooked poultry and 21 per cent think that avian flu can be present inan egg or its shell after cooking. A total of 29 per cent declare it is notsafe to eat the meat of a chicken vaccinated against avian influenza.

Outbreaks of the disease have occurred in domestic poultryin France, Sweden, Germany and Denmark. Cases of avian influenza H5N1 haveoccurred in wild birds in fourteen member states of the EU to date: Spain,Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Slovakia, Sweden,Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and UK.

The Eurobarometer survey on avian flu is published at

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