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People Who Die for Eating Well-cooked Chicken Get Compensation: Thai PM

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reaffirmed that those who die after eat well-cooked chicken would receive 3 million baht (US$75,000) as compensation.

Speaking at the weekly speech program of Thai National Radio Station Saturday morning, Thaksin stressed that World Health Organization had proved the virus of bird flu would be killed when the temperature is higher than 75 centigrade, so the well-cooked chicken is safe to eat.

He said some animal food companies had guaranteed that if any consumer dies after eating well-cooked chicken the companies would compensate 3 million baht (US$75,000) every case.

Thaksin called on Thai people to consume domestic chicken safely, saying otherwise chicken farmers and all other parties involved in the trade would suffer much.

He also revealed that the government would help raise consumer confidence by organizing fairs in provinces and in Bangkok next Saturday.

In Bangkok, artists and singers will stage a concert at Sanam Luang where Thaksin will cook chicken to show the public that chicken is safe to eat if well cooked.

In the provinces, governors will join with the provincial chamber of commerce to organize fairs to allay fears of bird flu in chicken among consumers.

The Thai government's confidence-boosting effort came from Friday as government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said the European Union (EU) would next week review its ban on Thai poultry.

He was quoted as saying that Thai government was going to submit relevant information to the EU, as the review was scheduled for Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, while the United Kingdom had agree to support a lifting of the ban.

He expressed optimism that Thai poultry would soon be back on the European market. The ban was imposed since last week amid the outbreak of bird flu in Thailand, where 14 million birds had been slaughtered in affected 29 provinces so far.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who heads a committee tasked with handling the bird-flu crisis, repeated Friday after daily committee meeting that the situation was "not very worrying" because the disease was not transmitted between humans.

Somkid added that government agencies would join to assure the public that fully cooked chicken was safe to eat. He said domestic consumption of chicken had slumped sharply since the bird-flu outbreak became known.

"If we can restore public confidence, the adverse consequences can be reduced," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2004)

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