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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that in response to growing concerns about avian flu, “the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council has allocated $1 million for an international education campaign.” One of its billboard features the slogan ‘Poultry is Safe. Just Cook It,’ and pictures a chicken in a blue apron.

While the avian flu has been confined to foreign countries to this point, US poultry producers are growing concerned that all the negative publicity could have an impact on their sales figures. There is, however, an upside – as avian flu affects consumption of native chickens in other countries (in some places it is down as much as 30 percent, and in Turkey consumption is down 95 percent because of a number of deaths connected to avian flu), exports of US birds to those countries could increase.

"This is the major issue facing us this year," Toby Moore, a spokesman for the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, told the 58th annual International Poultry Expo taking place in Atlanta. He noted that “while no human bird flu cases have been reported from eating properly cooked poultry, authorities blame most of the human infections on exposure to infected birds.”
KC's View:
Smart, savvy and informed marketing efforts that explain what avian flu is to consumers and why they should not be concerned about eating properly cooked poultry just makes sense – even if $1 million doesn’t seem like a lot of money to throw at the problem.

What poultry producers and retailers cannot afford is a half-baked effort that doesn’t really reassure anyone and doesn’t answer any questions. That’ll just make things worse.

The goal should be to make consumers smarter, not to simply dismiss the issue. Smarter consumers are, in the long run, the best consumers. (The corollary to this is that smarter retailers are always better retailers.)