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Michelin-star restaurant drops chicken from the menu

27 October 2005
Michelin-star restaurant drops chicken from the menu

A Michelin-star restaurant in London has dropped chicken from its menu because the avian bird flu scare has slashed demand to almost zero.

But French chef Alexis Gauthier said he was not sorry to stop serving chicken dishes at his Roussillon restaurant in Pimlico.

"Anyone who's serious about food doesn't order chicken in a restaurant anyway," he explained. "Intensive chicken farming has destroyed its flavour and robbed chicken of its integrity."

"Chicken horror stories have already had an adverse effect on chicken's popularity and avian flu is the final nail in the coffin," added the chef, who says demand for his vegetarian tasting menu had doubled over the past three weeks.

While David Cavalier, food innovations director at contract caterer Charlton House, has not seen any drop in demand for poultry yet, the company is sending out fact sheets to all its units, so staff can answer customers' concerns.

Gauthier's statement coincides with yesterday's warning from the Food Standards Agency not to eat raw eggs and under-cooked poultry due to a theoretical risk of contracting the strain of bird flu fatal to humans.

However, the key risk lies in handling live birds infected with the disease.

The Government yesterday announced a number of measures to limit the spread of the disease from Europe into the UK.

They include a temporary ban on the import of live birds into the EU until 30 November; new powers to restrict bird fairs, markets and shows; and new laws forcing poultry farmers to keep their birds indoors if required. This move could seriously hit the free-range and organic sectors.

The Government has also brought forward plans to introduce a nationwide poultry register, which will begin next month.

By Angela Frewin

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