Italians deplore bird flu ‘mass psychosis'

Italian poultry farmers deplored what they called a completely unnecessary “mass psychosis” over the risk of bird flu and blamed it for bringing Italian producers near to collapse.

They demanded the resignation of Herman Koлter, scientific director of the European Food Safety Authority, for spreading what they said were unjustified fears about the consumption of poultry products.

Poultry and egg producers in the UK, Spain and France were more measured in their response but in Germany, where sales of poultry products have fallen by at least 10 per cent, some restaurants are taking eggs and poultry off the menu.

“Our chickens and eggs are as safe as can be,” said Rolando Manfredini, food safety director for Coldiretti, Italy's farmers' association. “There exists no risk of contamination. The virus does not exist in the European Union and when chicken is cooked the virus dies at 60C to 70C. A mass psychosis is being created, fed by distorted information,” Financial Times quoted Manfredini as saying.