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12/20/2007

Stockpile food for flu crisis

Australia

EVERY Australian household should stockpile at least 10 weeks' worth of food rations to prepare for a deadly flu pandemic, a panel of leading nutritionists has warned.

World health experts now agree a pandemic is inevitable and will spread rapidly, wiping out up to 7.4 million people globally and triggering rapid food shortages.

Australia is expected to be among the first countries hit because of its proximity to Asia and high levels of international traffic.

But Woolworths and Coles, the nation's two major supermarket chains, will run out of stock within two to four weeks without a supply chain – or even faster if shoppers panic.

This has prompted a team of leading nutritionists and dietitians from the University of Sydney to compile "food lifeboat" guidelines to cover people's nutritional needs for at least 10 weeks.

Their advice – published in the Medical Journal of Australia – would allow citizens to stay inside their homes and avoid contact with infected people until a vaccine becomes available.

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