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Residents urged to buy frozen fowl

By Jiang Yabin (Global Times)

08:57, May 17, 2013

The municipal government is urging residents to buy more frozen chicken now that the city's live poultry markets have been shut down following the outbreak of H7N9 bird flu, local media reported Thursday.

The government aims to boost confidence in frozen chicken, which most consumers have snubbed in favor of the fresh chicken they used to buy at live produce markets, where they could watch the birds be slaughtered in front of their eyes.

The Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission said that it will use frozen chicken to ensure the safety of poultry sold in the city, the report said. Still, it acknowledged that it faces a challenge, at least in the short term, persuading residents to buy the frozen fowl.

"I used to work at a frozen chicken processing plant, so I know frozen chicken is cleaner than birds killed in the markets, but I still prefer live chicken," said Ji Wenhui, a local resident.

Of the 180 million chickens that Shanghai residents consume annually, about 28 percent are frozen, according to a report on the news website In Hong Kong, where authorities have made efforts to promote frozen chicken for more than 30 years, frozen chicken accounts for two-thirds of the poultry that residents consume. In the US and Europe, consumers almost exclusively eat frozen chicken.

To make the idea of frozen chicken more palatable, authorities and the industry have been pointing out the measure they have taken or will soon take to ensure its quality and safety.

For example, frozen chicken is raised and slaughtered under government supervision, said Sun Shuxia, the president of the China Health Care Association, who also specializes in food safety.

The government also plans to develop a tracking system that allows authorities to trace the source of a chicken all the way back along the industrial chain so it can determine who is responsible for unsafe or substandard meat.

In June, the city government plans to reopen half of the city's former live poultry markets, the news website reported.

Eventually, Shanghai will terminate the live poultry trade in favor of frozen chicken, the agricultural authority told

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