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KFC bird flu: Could new live poultry rule cut into KFC’s profits?

KFC’s profits could be hurt by the bird flu, Yahoo News reported Wednesday.

Chinese New Year is a big trading period for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) but the Chinese government’s ban on live poultry could negatively impact KFC’s bottom line.

The Xinhua news agency, the H7N9 avian influenza, more commonly known as the bird flu, has killed 19 in China this year. Another 96 people have been infected by the flu in the country. Chinese authorities are set to ban live poultry sales for the first three months of the new Chinese New Year which starts on Jan. 31.

KFC is growing in popularity in China and Japan and is very popular around holiday times especially the Chinese New Year and Christmas. KFC has 4,400 outlets in China.

Business Week notes that the effect of the bird flu will likely be felt after the Chinese New Year Holiday period. In 2012, KFC's sales in China took a nose dive after a supplier was discovered to be overusing antibiotics.

Eat up KFC cooking kills the bird flu

The bird flu virus is killed off the by cooking process, so there is no danger of catching the disease by eating at KFC or any other restaurant. The concern over the spread of the bird flu is limited to live birds.

Consumers should not be scared off by the association with bird flu and the consumption of chicken or turkey. So, if you like KFC, continue to eat there Don’t worry about the bird flu.

Leave your comments about the KFC bird flu story below. Do you think the fast food giant will suffer a major hit to its bottom line?