Coronavirus Does Not Spread Through Chicken, Mutton, Seafood: FSSAI Chief
Poultry bird prices have plunged to Rs 10-30 per kg at farm gate level due to a slump in chicken demand.
There is no scientific evidence to show that coronavirus spreads from eating chicken, mutton, and seafood, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Chief Executive Officer GSG Ayyangar said on Thursday and asserted that the virus would not survive in higher temperature.
"It is basically an animal virus. Let us leave it to scientists to figure out how it has been transmitted...however, ours is a tropical country and once the temperature crosses 35-36 degrees celsius, no virus will survive. Let us pray to God that winter ends and the temperature rises," he said.
There are at least 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in India. Amid apprehensions that the infection could spread through eating chicken, mutton, and seafood, the FSSAI Chief Executive Officer said there is a misconception about it.
"There is a misconception that coronavirus will spread through chicken, mutton and seafood. There is nothing like that. It is scientifically not proven. I am a scientist, I will not buy this argument," Ayyangar told reporters.
Ayyangar, who was earlier with the Indian Council of Medical Research, said it is a matter of time that vaccines for coronavirus will be developed as India has a good track of handling viruses. "Whether it is Ebola virus or Avian flu, we have handled them very well. It is a matter of time. We have to take precautions. We have to be on our toes," he said.
Urging people to take precautions, he said coronavirus is like many other viruses and developing a vaccine will depend on the complexity of the virus. The government is making all efforts to isolate the virus. "Once we are able to isolate the virus, then it takes some time to find a vaccine to counter the virus," he said at an event organised by industry body Assocham.
Addressing the event on nutrition and functional foods, Hexagon Nutrition Managing Director Vikram Kelkar said prices of vitamin supplements have been volatile recently and the spread of coronavirus has affected the supply across the world. On March 2, poultry breeders demanded a relief package from the government claiming that the sector has incurred heavy losses of around Rs 1,750 crore in a month due to fake news that eating chicken could spread coronavirus.
Poultry bird prices have plunged to Rs 10-30 per kg at farm gate level due to a slump in chicken demand while the average cost of production is Rs 80 per kg, the All India Poultry Breeders Association had said in a representation to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry.