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Consumer perceptions and reactions concerning AI (Avian Influenza)

Figuié M.. 2007. In : by A. McLeod and F. Dolberg (Eds.), Hanoi, 8th - 9th March 2007. Proceedings of Workshop on The Future for poultry farmers in Vietnam after highly pathogenic HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza). Hanoi : FAO, p. 13-21. Workshop on The Future for Poultry Farmers in Vietnam after Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, 2007-03-08/2007-03-09, Hanoi (Viet Nam).

This paper focuses on the results of different consumer surveys conducted between 2004 and 2006 with regard to consumers ' perceptions and reactions concerning AI in Vietnam, (mainly in Hanoi). The main results observed are as follows: - A high proportion of consumers consider AI to be a food-related risk. However, over time, there has been a slight shift from a fear of consuming poultry to a fear of preparing it (slaughtering it). - AI has had a profound effect on poultry consumption, even outside peak crisis times, more in terms of the quantity consumed (approximately a third less in 2006) than in terms of the number of consumers (6% less). - Blood and internal organs are considered particularly risky, while eggs are viewed as being safer. Poultry from industrial farms is considered to be more risky than poultry from small farms. - Purchasing practices have also been affected by AI: in Hanoi, consumers declare that they prefer to buy poultry directly from producers that they know, or from supermarkets in the case of the wealthiest consumers. A high proportion still buy live poultry from market traders, but more consumers now ask sellers to slaughter it for them. With a view to lessening market shocks in the wake of the crisis while maintaining the priority of consumer safety, a number of measures should nevertheless be implemented: Risk communication should not over-emphasize AI as a food-related risk. - Reliable safe distribution channels should be promoted (with reliable quality signs and controls) in order to encourage safe production and poultry consumption. Otherwise, a market recovery will only benefit supermarkets and large-scale farmers capable of supplying supermarkets. - As numerous live birds are still slaughtered in urban market places, facilities should be provided for safe slaughter. At the same time, more attention should be paid to the provision of a real "cold chain" with a view to promoting the sale of slaughtered poultry.

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