January 14, 2004



KFC Vietnam May Turn To Frozen Chicken Imports


The bird flu outbreak in Vietnam may force fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken to turn to frozen chicken imports.

KFC uses around 30,000 locally-farmed chickens per month for its eight outlets in commerce hub Ho Chi Minh City and one in nearby Dong Nai province.

"We are looking at the option of importing chickens from countries that are not infected by bird flu to ensure the safety of our foods," Nguyen Chi Kien, KFC Vietnam deputy country director said.

He declined to comment on how the virus has affected business. Hanoi declared last week that it had been struck by a fast-spreading bird flu that has hit other countries in Asia, which has a vast poultry industry.

Emerging just weeks before the country's biggest holiday, Tet or the Lunar New Year, news of the virus has already prompted many consumers to stop eating chicken and some restaurants to take it off their menus.

Kien said the company had ordered an emergency stock that would allow it to run for six months.

Laboratory tests have confirmed the deaths of three people in Vietnam are linked to the bird flu outbreak, the World Health Organisation said.

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