Before you become super concerned about “bird flu,” there are some important facts you need to know about this disease.
“Bird flu” and human flu are two different things with no related symptoms or cause. “Bird flu”-H5N1 is an extremely pathogenic Asian avian influenza which affects mostly birds but can affect humans as well. All the people known to have been affected with bird flu had close contact with infected birds, mostly in rural villages of Asian sub continents. It should be noted that where there is no close contact with infected birds, there are no humans who were affected by bird flu.
More good news: The food supply is protected from bird flu. The poultry industry and the U.S. government take Asian avian influenza very gravely because it can destroy commercial poultry business. It is known to spread by migratory birds, so the federal government closely monitors wild birds in the areas where there could be possible contacts with Asian birds.
In addition, security on poultry farms is very strict. Poultry is kept away from wild birds. Strict procedures are followed which keeps the virus away from the birds’ living space. Poultry farmers’ top most priority is to protect their flocks from getting infected. They will never want their business to suffer because of these viruses.
The industry and state governments support extensive testing programs to watch for any signs of Bird flu. Under the National Chicken Council’s program, which virtually all chicken companies follow, each flock is tested thoroughly. Any poultry flock found or even suspected to be infected with bird flu would be destroyed immediately on the farm and would never enter the food supply.
You can also totally feel secure about your chicken or turkey dinners. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you will never get infected with “bird flu” from properly handled and cooked food. Just make sure to follow the instructions that are printed on each package of fresh meat and poultry sold at your local shops. The instructions are the same as they have always been-nothing extraordinary is needed to follow. On the isolated chance that an infected bird got into the food supply, it wouldn’t affect consumers who cook their food properly. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking poultry to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The viruses are unable to survive at such extreme temperatures.
So go ahead, enjoy your turkey and chicken as you were doing all these years, there is no need to be afraid as long as you are eating them properly cooked.
“American consumers don’t have to worry about getting the avian flu virus from eating poultry,” says Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. “We know that if you properly cook poultry, it’s safe.”