Some airline companies have stopped serving poultry dishes on flights out of concern over avian flu H7N9.
An official surnamed Li with Beijing Airport Inflight Kitchen Ltd, which provides food for major airline companies including China Southern and China Eastern, said that they have stopped supplying poultry dishes for flights.
"We received notification from our clients yesterday that we need to stop supplying poultry. Beef will become the major substitute," said Li.
Zhang Wuan, media officer with Shanghai-based Spring Airlines, said it stopped serving poultry after the Qingming Festival, which fell on April 4.
"Because H7N9 was found in poultry, we decided to stop serving it. It depends on the practical situation to decide when to resupply this type of food," said Zhang, adding that they now mainly serve beef and fish.
Shanghai has closed live poultry markets after H7N9 was found, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.
Although some companies have stopped serving poultry, others said they have not received any notice to do so.
Chen Xuan, PR manager for American Airlines, said that they have not received any announcement yet regarding poultry-based meals.
But many passengers have said they do not want to eat chicken.
A man surnamed Wang, who flew Tuesday from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, to Beijing on China Eastern Airlines, complained that they were served chicken noodles.
"I felt so angry about it. The avian flu is now spreading but they still gave us chicken," said Wang.
"I didn't eat the food on the plane. But most people did," Wang said, who claimed the flight crew were eating beef.
Zhao Fuming, 23, who flew from Beijing to Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province on Air China during the Qingming Festival, said that he was given beef on board.
"But if I was hungry I would eat chicken as well. Though personally, I'm not eating chicken during this 'special' period," said Zhao.
Pang Xinhuo, deputy director of Beijing Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), said that if the food has passed quarantine, it is safe.
"People don't need to stop eating poultry. If it's cooked thoroughly and processed properly, people won't be infected simply by eating it," noted Pang.
While most restaurants are still serving poultry, Chinanews.cn reported Tuesday that fewer customers are going to fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and KFC. However, roast duck restaurants are still open as normal. Quanjude said Tuesday that they still have roast duck dishes on sale as usual.
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