French health minister Xavier Bertrand has urged consumers in the country to eat poultry and foie gras despite bird flu concerns, reported the Associated Press (AP).

The government reassurances follow concerns from poultry farmers that consumption has fallen – causing large financial losses.

Bertrand purportedly said: “No farms on our territory are affected (by bird flu), there is no reason to change habits. We can obviously continue to eat poultry and other bird products such as foie gras”

According to the reports, EU agriculture ministers are meeting in Brussels today (20 February) to discuss ways to combat bird flu, including a Europe-wide programme to vaccinate poultry.

The only case confirmed so far in France – Europe’s largest poultry producer – was a wild duck that died of the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus last week.