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May 17, 2013

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City backs chilled, frozen chicken

SHANGHAI will advocate the consumption of chilled and frozen poultry products to help revitalize the industry which has been badly affected by the recent H7N9 bird flu outbreak.

The city is also considering reopening some of the live poultry markets next month or in July if the flu fears ease, authorities said yesterday.

Residents are being encouraged to buy chilled poultry products, which are said to taste better than frozen ones and are safer than poultry slaughtered on the spot. Chilled chickens have to pass strict quarantine inspection before being sent to the slaughterhouses. They must be processed at temperatures between 0-4 degrees Celsius to kill all bacteria and viruses, and be transported to sales points under the same temperature.

Chilled chickens have a shelf life of one week.

Shanghai residents consume between 170 million and 180 million chickens every year, a fifth of which are locally produced. A majority of the chicken still comes from neighboring Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces, Shanghai Agricultural Commission said.

Chickens which are slaughtered on the spot are usually sold at wet markets while chilled and frozen chickens are sold to large restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Among the three kinds of chicken, chilled chicken accounts for the least share because many residents mistake it for frozen chicken, which has a slightly different taste. Other reasons are that most buyers do not know the advantages of chilled chicken while many prefer chicken from the wet market, thinking they are fresh.

"What we need to do is to explain the advantages of chilled chicken and guide them to change their habit gradually," said Shao Linchu, deputy director of the commission.

However, some experts said it would be difficult for local people to change their eating habits in a short time.

Shanghai shut down all live poultry stores and markets on April 6, leading to millions of yuan in losses, Shao said.


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