Grocery store chains prepare bird flu contingencies
| 02.20.2007 | 09:29:01 | Views: 3064 | ID:
February 20 '07: The Associated Press reported that grocery store chains have been readying themselves for the potentialities of an avian flu pandemic. "Unlike other critical infrastructure sectors like water, energy and health care, the food industry isn't getting much help from state and federal governments when it comes to disaster planning."
Currently, according to federal estimates, should a pandemic strike the U.S., as much as 40 percent of the entire workforce could be affected. That amount of absent employees would put a huge strain on the ability of companies which supply essential services to remain in operation.Keith Hanson, an outreach coordinator for the Center for Biopreparedness Education told the AP that his organization is working to help food companies develop response and preparedness plans in case of a pandemic. In addition to having electricity and water, food is essential and becomes "very important" Hanson said. According to the AP, the amount of Americans who are eating out and keeping less food in their homes has risen significantly since the 1970's. Industry groups have said that what is important for both companies and their communities to understand is that if services are interrupted, it will be essential for people to have enough food to feed their families for several days. Tim Hammonds, the president of the Food Marketing Institute, an advocacy group told the AP, "The industry is actively thinking through contingency plans, so if it (avian flu)should happen, our members would be well prepared to deal with it."
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