Chicken sales still to look up after antibiotic scare

Chicken sales still to look up after antibiotic scare

One in every four Delhiites seems to have given up on his favourite juicy chicken leg-piece ever since an NGO raised an alarm over suspected presence of undesirable antibiotics in poultry meat in the city.

“Our business is down by a fourth since the report on antibiotics use in chicken came,” said Vijay Parmer, owner of Palm Eggs and Poultry Ltd in Ghazipur.

Even restaurants reported a lower demand for chicken dishes in the three weeks after the release of the recent study by the Center for Science and Environment that talked of chicken farmers using excessive doses antibiotics to prevent diseases in birds and promote their growth.

An employee of fast food outlet Kentucky Fried Chicken in Connaught Place said there was no statistics on sale on lower chicken sales but “a kind of worry among chicken lovers is being sensed”.

Anju Singh, a Delhi University student, present at the KFC outlet admitted to avoiding chicken these days. 

“I enjoy eating chicken but since the report has come, I am worried while eating chicken,” she said. 

Dressed chickens are also being lifted much slowly at meat shops.

Wholesale poultry firm Rise and Corn Poultry’s manager Rashid Ahmed said: “Our retail customers are lifting birds in lesser numbers. We have to also cut down on our stocks due to poor demand.”

In some pockets, there are signs of recovery in demand. A few restaurant owners said the customers’ initial panic reaction of abstaining from chicken dishes has started showing signs of fading away.

“Chicken is an integral part of the diet of large section of our society. Though people were very apprehensive, but slowly they have started coming out of the fear,” said Vikas Gupta, sales head at a Big Chill outlet in Khan Market.

The study by CSE, released on July 31, found that a blend of three antibiotics is used at the poultry farms around Delhi.

According to the CSE, the rampant use of antibiotics in chicken and long-time consumption of such chicken may cause antibiotic resistance in human body also as the antibiotic laced chicken meat is eaten by people.

While commenting on government’s response over the study report, Sunita Narayan, director of CSE said: “We are really saddened with the fact that the Union government or FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) have not taken any step to prevent such activity.”

She claimed that their report had also suggested many steps to be taken by the government to prevent the use of antibiotics in chicken.