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    Chicken and eggs are safe for consumption, say experts

    Published on January 21, 2021

    Bengaluru : According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), chicken and poultry are safe to consume when cooked properly. While the situation is worrisome for consumers, a few doctors and nutritionists have analyzed the situation and have shared their opinions.

    Dr. AnamGolandaz, Dietician,Masina Hospital, said, “Most strains of the bird flu virus are found embedded in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of the infected birds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, transmission from birds to humans is rare. Chicken and other poultry are safe to eat if cooked properly. A joint statement was issued by the FAO and the (WHO to the national food safety authorities. Proper cooking at temperatures of more than 70°C of every part of the bird will deactivate the virus. When preparing the meals, do not use the same utensils for cooked and raw meats. Poultry from areas with bird flu outbreaks should not be consumed raw or partially cooked (i.e., with runny yolk), FAO/WHO advised.” 

    According to Dr SindhuraKoganti, Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani, “Bird flu does not transmit from human to human. Humans are safe from the flu if poultry is cooked at a temperature of over 70 degree Celsius and eggs are fully cooked. Make sure poultry and eggs are bought fresh from a recognized provider. Our advice to consumers of poultry and eggs is to not panic but instead carefully source and thoroughly cook them to ensure your consumption of protein are safely met.”

    As per, Dr AjitRanade, Dean, Mumbai Veterinary College, “The affected poultry birds contracted the virus from wild and migratory birds. This particular virus cannot directly cause disease in human beings as it needs to undergo mutation, which is a very rare thing.  From 2006 in Maharashtra there have been no cases of human infection and throughout the world, in the last 5 years, the number of such cases were about 42-45 out of which 39 were from Egypt. So, the probability of it being passed on to human beings is very very remote. The lack of information has paved the way for unnecessary panic which has hit the poultry industry badly. Also, any abnormal mortality noticed in poultry farms should be intimated to the nearest veterinary dispensary at the earliest.”

                         Some of the precautions to be followed include:

    ●       Disinfecting and sanitizing all the utensils before cooking

    ●       Separating thee raw and cooked or ready-to-eat food to avoid contact and contamination

    ●       Using a different knife and cutting board for cutting each food product

    ●       Wash the meat well before starting to cook

    ●       Sanitize or wash your hands every time after touching raw meat.

    If the precautions suggested by experts are followed strictly, then the chances of any possible transmission of avian flu are nullified and one can enjoy their favorite chicken dish.