Answers about Avian Flu

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is once again in the headlines. It’s bad news for birds, but what does this mean for the safety of the poultry and eggs on your family’s table? We’ve answered some questions that you may have about avian flu and what it means for the safety of the food supply.

 

I read about the fast-moving avian flu virus. Is poultry safe to eat right now?

Yes, you can still safely enjoy some delicious chicken! 

“As reported by CDC this does not pose a threat to humans at this time, said Gregory P. Martin, Ph.D., P.A.S., extension poultry agent at Pennsylvania State University. “The public is recommended to stay away from wild waterfowl as a precaution, and to wash hands should they come in contact with poultry.”

Remember, safe food handling techniques are vital to staying healthy even when there’s not a major disease outbreak. By cooking raw poultry to a proper internal temperature (165 degrees), you are killing off any potentially dangerous bacteria or viruses. It’s also important to remember to clean surfaces and utensils thoroughly after they come in contact with raw poultry, and to keep raw poultry separated for fresh foods. Just remember the four steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill. 

 

Does avian flu affect egg safety?             

No.  Eggs, like poultry, cannot transmit avian flu if they are properly prepared. Precautions should always be taken when handling raw eggs. Check out these “egg basics” from foodsafety.gov for tips on how to safely handle eggs.

 

What are poultry producers and veterinarians doing to keep food safe?

Infected birds are being separated and destroyed in an effort to keep the disease from spreading. Poultry producers and veterinarians are doing all they can to protect animal welfare while minimizing any spread of disease. The USDA is also boosting their surveillance efforts to catch sick birds more quickly and efficiently. For more information on the steps the USDA is taking to stop the spread of avian flu, visit the USDA website.

Though some of the headlines may sound pretty scary, rest assured that you can always take the proper precautions to make sure your family’s food is safe. You can also visit the CDC or USDA APHIS websites for more updates and info on the avian flu.