he avian section at Lucknow Zoo has been closed for public in wake of bird flu. (HT Photo)
he avian section at Lucknow Zoo has been closed for public in wake of bird flu. (HT Photo)

Bird flu scare: Lucknowites look for veg options!

Despite message issued by doctors, veterinary scientists and concerned department about consumption of ‘fully-cooked’ chicken-egg is safe, people are still going for vegetarian options which are available in winters in abundance
By Deep Saxena
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:52 AM IST

As we continue to battle corona virus outbreak, the recent bird flu scare is adding to the woes of non-vegetarian food lovers in Lucknow. Cases reported in Kanpur zoo and some other parts of India have made chicken and egg lovers wary and this is resulting on the sale of non-vegetarian food products. Despite message issued by doctors, veterinary scientists and concerned department about consumption of ‘fully-cooked’ chicken-egg is safe, people are still going for vegetarian options which are available in winters in abundance.

Protein options for fitness freaks

National-level body builder Ravish Ahmed says taking care of safety measure he is consuming eggs and chicken but lot of his gym buddies are abstaining from poultry products. “There are a lot of options for fitness freaks and body builders to fulfil their requirement of protein diet. Stuff like Isolated protein, whey, milk, soya, paneer and pulses are good enough for those who want to avoid eggs and chicken.

Vegetarian options

Lucknow-based nutritionist Uzma Afsar, who herself has turn vegetarian since a few months now said, “Its winter and it’s the best season to savour veggies which are available in abundance. As far as protein is concerned one can have soya, panner, pulses, grams and other milk products. When you eat these with green vegetable of the season they act as a multiplier to protein.”

Shunning non-veg for now

Chef Shaeem Qureshi reports that since last three days orders of chicken dishes have completely dried. “Barring one order of chicken biryani yesterday all my orders have been for mutton products. Earlier, consumption of chicken was manifold. I have also added some more varieties of mutton dishes but I feel are avoiding non-vegetarian dishes largely.”

Chef M Rehman who runs a non-vegetarian restaurant in Indira Nagar says it’s a double whammy for them after corona-virus. He adds that sale has come down by 40%.

Menu’s tweaked

Corporate chef Saurabh Sinha says that at their restaurants, patrons are opting for mutton and fish cuisines. “In our banquet books those who have pre-booked parties have come up with new menu requests. While some have gone for complete vegetarian menu other have tweaked their line-up and opted for fish and mutton delicacies instead of chicken ones. Though we procure our poultry from standardized suppliers but due to the scare we are going by what customers are asking.”

This too will pass!

Tanveer Ahmed who runs a prominent food joint on Rana Pratap Marg says people are avoiding non-vegetarian items for the time-being. “We saw the scare when we opened after lockdown but gradually it picked up. Bird flu scare is not new and it’s natural for people to feel anxious. This is definitely reflecting in our sales which have gone down by 40-60%. It’s not only for chicken but I feel people are avoiding non-veg food for the time being. Like before, I’m sure, this too shall pass and everyone will relish poultry products like before,” he said.

Cook at right temperatures

More than consuming cooked poultry products it’s important to follow proper safety measures while procuring and preparing chicken. “Bacteria and viruses cannot resist the temperature above 70 degree celsius. And chicken or egg is generally cooked at much higher temperature that means there is no chance of the survival of the H5N1 virus that is known for transmitting bird flu,” said Mahesh Chandra, joint director extension education and co-ordinator communication centre, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly.

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