Bird-Flu: Indian Parliament canteen takes chicken off its menu
Feb 22, 2006 - 3:14:37 PM
Even as the government said the avian flu situation was under control, Indian Parliament House canteen Tuesday stopped serving chicken, raising eyebrows among MPs and other regular clients.
Officials in the parliament secretariat said the canteen - which is frequented every day by hundreds of MPs and others including journalists - run by Indian Railways' catering service would not serve chicken for two to three weeks.
But many parliamentarians questioned the decision.
"It is absolutely strange that the government, which claims to have the situation under control, has now stopped serving chicken even in parliament," said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu.
"I don't think we should stop eating chicken. The WHO (World Health Organisation) clearly says it can be eaten after it is properly cooked," said Congress party MP Rashid Alvi.
Alvi also said the canteen's decision not to serve chicken could create panic.
India's state-run and private airlines and the railways took chicken and eggs off their menu earlier this week following the detection of the bird flu virus in Maharashtra.
The official carriers Air India and Indian Airlines stopped serving chicken dishes Monday while Indian Railways withdrew chicken and egg dishes from long-distance trains.
But MPs, including those who are vegetarians, asked why chicken and egg dishes should be withdrawn from menus as experts had said the incidence of avian flu virus was localized in a 10 sq km area of Maharashtra and was killed when poultry products were cooked at high temperatures.
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