Safe for eating: Duterte to eat balut to allay bird flu fears

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2017 10:51 AM | Updated as of Aug 24 2017 03:43 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will be joining a boodle fight in Pampanga next Monday to prove that poultry products are safe to eat despite the avian influenza outbreak declared in a farming town there, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Thursday.

"Kakain siya ng balut, kakain siya ng chicken barbecue saka itik sa Pampanga mismo," Piñol told ANC's Headstart.

Piñol also assured people that the country will recover from the bird flu and this is only a "minor bump in our agriculture."

"This is normal human reaction to a crisis like this, especially if it involves health...but sooner or later, this will die down, people’s confidence will be back," he said.

A bird flu outbreak has been declared in the agricultural town of San Luis in Pampanga, while 2 more cases were confirmed in the towns of Jaen and San Isidro in neighboring Nueva Ecija.

Some 620,000 fowls are set to be culled in the said areas, according to Piñol.

He said, however, that all chicken and poultry products sold in the markets are safe for consumption due to the strict quarantine procedures of the Department of Agriculture.

"As long as it goes through a heating process, you’re safe," he said.

TRANSMISSIBLE BUT NOT FATAL

However, Piñol also said that the avian influenza may be transmitted to humans but will not be fatal.

He said while it has been confirmed that the bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga was the AH5 strain, the government has yet to receive the confirmatory test from Australia.

"N6 is actually the same strain or basically the same strain that hit China, but there were fatalities in China mainly because of the number of birds that was present siguro or mababa yung kanilang immune resistance," he said.

"But ordinarily, N6 which is what they suspect this is in San Luis, is transmissible to human beings—puwede kang magka-flu, but it’s not fatal," he added.

Type N1, he explained, is the fatal type.