Karnataka misses pork delicacies in time of swine flu

May 5th, 2009 - 12:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, May 5 (IANS) It is said that a trip to Karnataka’s picturesque hill district of Kodagu is incomplete if you don’t sample the mouth watering pandi curry, a traditional pork dish. But with the threat of swine flu looming large, tourists are staying away from the delicacy.
The situation is similar in the capital Bangalore with pork chops, fried bacon and sausages suddenly going off the menu in eateries and homes.

“Karnataka is known for its pork based cuisine. Tourists too love pork delicacies of the state. But as a precautionary measure we’ve removed all pork dishes from our buffet, including the famous pandi curry, for the time being,” Neeraj Gill, general manager of a budget hotel in Kodagu, told IANS.

“Fear factor is playing a big role. People are scared to eat pork delicacies. Eateries too are staying away from serving pork,” said Arun Kumar, manager of the Karnataka Ham Shop in Bangalore.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been trying hard to clear the misconception that swine flu spreads by eating pork, but eateries and households across the state are on alert and are not ready to take any chances. Luxury hotels across Bangalore too have kept pork delicacies out from their menu.

“This has been done as a preventive measure as recommended by doctors. Moreover, only two percent of meat consumption is pork-related in hotels. Chicken is the most favoured meat among visitors. Moreover, if pork is cooked above 70 degrees Celsius or kept frozen below 20 degrees Celsius, the spread of virus is unlikely,” said a chef of a five star hotel in Bangalore.

“As swine flu scare is still on, I am avoiding bringing pork home. I am serving either chicken or mutton to my family,” said homemaker Sanjana Mathews.

Sale of pork has dipped to almost 50 percent in last few days. Pork shops in Johnson Market, Austen Town, Hutchins Road, Indiranagar and Frazer Town here have witnessed huge losses.

Although the price of pork remained the same, dealers were afraid that they would fall soon. The price of pork is Rs.120 per kg with bones and Rs.160 per kg for boneless.

“Consumption of pork has nothing to do with swine flu. But as the news of swine flu has spread like a wild fire, people are avoiding eating pork. We’re suffering heavy losses,” said Thomas P., a shopkeeper at Austin Town.

Bangalore Cold Storage in Johnson Market said their daily sales had come down from 1,000 kg to around 700 kg.

“Business has been affected due to swine flu scare. Both households and eateries, the main consumers of pork are shying away from buying the meat,” said K. Balaraj, owner of Bangalore Cold Storage.

Bangalore Cold Storage has one of the biggest piggeries in the state. They rear pigs in a five acre land at Chintamani in Chikkaballapura district.

The state has around 55 big and small piggeries, rearing pigs in a scientific manner. However, the piggery owners are yet to form their association in the state.

“As we have no association, we are finding it hard to measure the exact impact on our business due to the swine flu scare. Moreover, due to lack of coordination among piggeries, we have been unable to take any step to stop the spread of rumour that eating pork causes swine flu,” lamented Balaraj.

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