Poultry industry 'bullying'

NEW ZEALAND - Scientists say funding problems, covert bullying and a lack of co-operation from the poultry industry are hampering research into health risks associated with chicken.

Their claims are hotly denied by the Poultry Industry Association and health officials.

Many scientists working on problems including antibiotic resistance in chicken and campylobacter infection, which causes stomach cramps and diarrhoea, have given up or gone overseas in frustration.

The poultry industry and New Zealand Food Safety Authority say they are working hard and committing significant resources to the problems, but there were no easy solutions. "We're doing as much as we can as fast as we can," NZFSA spokeswoman Diane Robinson said.

This month, the Sunday Star- Times reported that Otago University scientists wanted a ban on the sale of fresh chicken to curb our rocketing campylobacter epidemic. They found up to 90% of the country's chicken is swarming with the disease, and human infection rates here are the highest in the world.

After the Star-Times' story, the Poultry Industry Association issued a statement attacking scientist Michael Baker's research, calling it "a knee-jerk reaction to unsubstantiated comments".

In response, Baker said: "This does feel like they're shooting the messenger when people have known about this health hazard for years and haven't spoken out."

Source: Stuff.co.nz
calendar icon 26 July 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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