Frenchurged consumers not to panic Saturday, hours after the government announced the 's first outbreak of deadly bird flu in commercial poultry.
Chirac said chickens and eggs remained safe to eat as he munched a piece of the famously succulent chicken from the Ain region, where the lethal virus was confirmed in turkeys.
Panic among consumers is "totally unjustified," Chirac said during a visit to open the annual Paris Agriculture Fair. "The virus in question ... is automatically destroyed by cooking. So there is absolutely no danger."
[...] Japan's decision Friday to suspend imports of French poultry and poultry products, including foie gras, signaled the potential impact even before the confirmation that the deadly H5N1 virus had decimated a farm of more than 11,000 turkeys at Versailleux in southeastern France.
Hong Kong also has temporarily suspended imports of French poultry, Brenda Chan, a spokeswoman of Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said Sunday.
In France itself, there has been a drop of up to 30 percent in poultry purchases in recent weeks. Chirac noted the "economic and social consequences" of panic and said the French must not fall into such a trap.