Many states in India are battling a bird flu outbreak now amid the covid pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of birds have died in Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and many states have also stepped-up vigil. Poultry sale has taken a hit in several states affected by the bird flu outbreak, with some states banning the sale of poultry products. The question is are eggs and chicken safe to consume amid bird flu?
Well, let’s first understand what bird flu is. Also known as Avian influenza or avian flu, bird flu is an infection caused by viruses that occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them. However, bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens and ducks very sick and kill them.
According to the World Health Organisation, Chicken and other poultry are safe to eat if cooked properly. However, no birds from flocks with the disease should enter the food chain. WHO recommends cooking of poultry at or above 70°Celsius throughout the product, so that absolutely no meat remains raw and red. WHO also believes to have found no evidence of consumers being exposed to the virus via the handling or consumption of poultry or poultry products.
Still in order to avoid the risk of the infection, one should follow these practices while cooking poultry and eggs:
-Separate raw meat from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination
-Do not use the same chopping board or the same knife
-Do not handle both raw and cooked foods without washing your hands in between
-Do not place cooked meat back on the same plate or surface it was on prior to cooking
-Do not use raw or soft-boiled eggs in food preparations that will not be heat treated or cooked
-Keep clean and wash your hands
-After handling frozen or thawed raw poultry or eggs, wash your hands thoroughly with soap
-Wash and disinfect all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw meat
AIIMS institute has suggested that while cooking an egg, one should ensure its yolk becomes firm. One should avoid consuming egg yolks that are runny or liquid amid the outbreak.
Animal husbandry secretary, Atul Chaturvedi who assuaged concerns over consumption of poultry products amid the bird flu outbreak. He reiterated that there’s no harm in consuming poultry products and that the worries on the consumption of poultry are unfounded. He further added that there are no cases of this bird flu being transmitted to humans so far.