Leading French poultry producers have warned of imminent staff cuts due to declining poultry consumption.

Year-on-year demand has fallen by 12% in January, Poultry Industry Federation president Alain Melot told Agence France-Presse. Free-range producers have been hit even harder, with demand down 30%.

The drop in consumption is the result of fears of bird flu. "The situation is extremely difficult and problematic because the crisis is becoming global," Cyrille Arcamone, spokesman for the country's second biggest producer, Doux, told AFX International.