I am now in Italy waiting for the start of the International Poultry Council meeting tomorrow. On the way over from London, the papers were full of news of swine flu. In Italy, the 20 suspected cases have all been negative, so Italian news is covering the few UK cases, but still making most of a story that is even more frightening than budget deficits, unemployment and state handouts.

I’m still relatively new in the poultry sector but I do know a few people in the industry, either from my present role or from past positions. I can usually turn up at a meeting and be sure to know somebody.


Catching the train from Rome airport to the central train station I did not see a soul that I knew. If I’m on my own, I like to walk and while it would have been a big surprise to bump into a familiar face walking to my hotel, it could have happened. It’s now 11.20 at night – I’ve seen nobody in the hotel lobby, in the bar or in the restaurant.

I hope that people are not taking suggested travel restrictions to the extreme. There have been no confirmed cases of febre suina in Italy!