Business as usual for leading restos
The recent avian flu outbreak in Pampanga has not deterred Filipinos from eating fried chicken when they dine out, according to the country’s leading restaurant chains which also assured that they source poultry products only from farms that hurdle stringent quality standards.
Homegrown fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corp., leading pizza parlor chain Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures Inc. (SPAVI) and Max’s Group Inc. – some of the biggest retailers of chicken products in the country – all reported that it’s business as usual in their stores.
Raymond Neil Franco, head of research at local stock brokerage Abacus Securities, said it’s too early too tell whether the outbreak would have a big impact on listed food firms.
Citing anecdotal evidence, Franco said chicken prices had gone down at wet markets, indicating a slump in demand. However, he cited an assurance from management of leading fastfood Jollibee that last weekend’s sales were still good. “But if the two suspected human cases reported by Inquirer earlier are proven to be avian flu, then that will change the picture,” Franco said.
“So far, thank God, we haven’t seen any negative impact on consumption for chicken. There have been few guests who asked questions, but they are very few and our team was able to answer them,” Vicente Gregorio, Shakey’s president and chief executive officer, told reporters in an interview at Paseo de Magallanes, where Shakey’s opened its 200th restaurant on Wednesday.
Gregorio said all of Shakey’s chicken supply was being sourced from five of the country’s largest producers, including San Miguel group.
“We were provided with certificates that that the products were certified free from avian flu, that they don’t source from those (affected) areas,” Gregorio said.
Shakey’s is monitoring the situation closely but so far, Gregorio said the issue had been isolated in the town of San Luis in Pampanga.
“The farm that was affected is an egg-laying farm, not a broiler farm, and what we use are chicken broilers. We got assurance that they see no problem,” he said.
Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) – the parent company of Jollibee, Mang Inasal, Chowking, Greenwich and Burger King Philippines – also issued a statement that the group was not affected by the avian flu incident in Pampanga, assuring the public that all its poultry products across its brands were undergoing strict quality standards and were safe for consumption.
“JFC sources its local poultry product requirements only from accredited and reputable suppliers in the Philippines that employ the safest food practices in sourcing, manufacturing, preparation and delivery,” the group said in a statement.
The group said all its poultry suppliers had confirmed that they were not affected by the current avian flu as they were outside the bio-security kilometer range and that their most updated tests showed no manifestation of any disease in their farms.
“As part of our overall supply risk management against typhoons and diseases such as this, we spread the sourcing of our poultry requirements across different areas of the country and maintain a roster of reputable suppliers to ensure continuous, secure and safe supply,” JFC said.
On top of these, JFC said it was following very stringent quality assurance procedures and supplier accreditation processes. “We also follow our own strict quality standards on food service, cleanliness and condition in all our stores and commissaries worldwide,” it said.
Max’s Group also reported that chicken sales were at normal levels despited the reported outbreak and that strict rules in chicken supply sourcing were being followed.
Two of the country’s largest suppliers of chicken – San Miguel PureFoods and Robina Agri Partners – also earlier stated that their chicken farms were avian flu-free.
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