Bird flu takes toll on Xmas flavour

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There is every chance this Christmas Malayalis may have to wait for cakes from other states. Reason the ban on chicken and eggs from neighbouring states. The move comes at a time when big hotels, bakeries, exporters and other manufacturing units have just begun cake mixing eyeing the Christmas market. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the major suppliers of eggs to the state.

The Bakers Association of Kerala (BAKE) has sought swift action to lift the ban as they feared this Christmas may go without cakes. The state government recently banned chicken and eggs from the two neighbouring states, following reports of bird flu at Hesarghatta in Bengaluru. Animal husbandry department sources said it was going into the details of reports of culling the fowl there.

“If the ban is not lifted within a couple of days, it will definitely affect the cake production. All manufacturers will have to start cake mixing within the next two weeks. Most of the big hotels have already begun the mixing. The Rs200-crore worth Xmas and New Year cake market in the state will be in a crisis if there is a scarcity of eggs,” said BAKE president P.M. Sankaran.

Even if the ban is lifted, it will take a minimum two to three weeks for egg supply to get back to normal which is a clear indication that the business is going to be hit hard, he added.

Egg is an important ingredient in cake-making as it makes cakes soft, fluffy and enhances taste. “Egg will be added during the initial or next stage of cake-mixing. Shortage of eggs will definitely hit the production,” said M.K. Ranjith of Brownies Bakery and BAKE president in Kannur district.

The poultry egg production in the state is very negligible with a production of only 60,000 per day. The state’s approximate need is 1.25 crore eggs per day and Tamil Nadu supplies nearly 1.1 crore. Karnataka is providing the rest.

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