PETALING JAYA: A group of free range or ayam kampung breeders have cautioned Malaysians about the prevalence of ‘fake’ ayam kampung, which are sold at cheaper prices to lure buyers.
Consumers were misled into buying coloured broiler poultry instead of ayam kampung, said Persatuan Pembiak Baka Ayam Kampung Warisan Malaysia chairman Dr Azhar Kasim.
A kilo of the coloured broiler is sold for between RM10 and RM12, while a kilo of the real kampung chicken could cost between RM18 and RM20, he said.
There is a preference among Malaysians for the meat of ayam kampung, which is said to contain less cholesterol and fat, compared to the coloured broiler.
Azhar said unscrupulous breeders would let the coloured broiler poultry to grow until 35 or 40 days old, when its weight is between 1.2kg and 1.5kg, similar to the weight of a marketable ayam kampung.
The real ayam kampung takes an average of about four months to reach 1.5kg to 2kg.
“When the coloured broiler chicken reaches the size of an ayam kampung, the breeders would sell it at a lower price than the real deal,” he said yesterday.
Azhar had raised attention to the matter in May when he issued a statement to caution buyers not to confuse coloured broiler poultry with ayam kampung.
He said in a statement then that the ‘fake’ ones were openly available at wholesale markets, night markets, farmers’ markets and even restaurants.
This was a result of unscrupulous traders at markets all over the Klang Valley selling “coloured broiler” poultry as ayam kampung.
Even breeders were not spared from being misled, he said, adding that some breeders of the coloured broiler poultry had taken to calling such chicken as ayam kampung kacukan (mixed kampung chicken) in order to pass these off as the real deal.
“The feathers of the coloured broiler chicken are similar to those of ayam kampung. that’s why a lot of people get confused,” he said.
Azhar said some unsuspecting breeders bought the ayam kampung kacukan before Hari Raya thinking that these were the real deal but were disappointed when they found out too late that they had been duped.
“They were frustrated because they couldn’t sell their chickens for the price of ayam kampung.
“The wholesaler would only buy it for between RM8-RM10 per kilo of live chicken, because it was not real ayam kampung,” he said.
Azhar said the best way for buyers to ensure that they were buying the real thing is by getting the chicken directly from genuine breeders and asking if it was ayam kampung before making the purchase.
“You can also buy ayam kampung from verified locations,” said Azhar, adding that there were also ayam kampung breeders registered under the associations.
Azhar also urged the Veterinary Department and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to take action.