The central government on Friday asked people not to pay attention to false rumours that the novel coronavirus was spreading through non-vegetarian food like eggs, chicken, mutton and seafood.
Union Fisheries, Dairying and Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh said even the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as well as the Indian food safety regulator FSSAI have said there was no scientific evidence to prove transmission of coronavirus from animals to humans.
"The false rumour has hit thousands of farmers engaged in this business. The livelihood of farmers and the people engaged in the entire value chain have been affected. I humbly request people not to fall prey to such rumours," Singh told reporters.
The industry has estimated about Rs 2,000 crore a day loss in the poultry sector alone as prices of chicken have declined by about 70 per cent in just a month alone to Rs 30 per kg in the wholesale market, he said.
An order issued by the Lucknow District Magistrate recently on maintaining general hygiene in the poultry sector was "misread"and "misinterpreted" in the media which created further panic among people, he added.
The consumption of Indian poultry products including eggs is safe and a general hygiene, however, must be maintained," Singh said.
Minister of State for Fisheries, Dairying and Animal Husbandry Sanjeev Balyan also urged people not to believe such rumours spread through social media.
Even maize and soya farmers are affected as these products are used as animal feed in the poultry sector, he added.