Is Eating Chicken Safe During a Bird Flu Pandemic?




With many states reporting Bird Flu scares, India has seen panic when it comes to eating chicken. We have already seen chicken and egg prices fall drastically. With so much information going around, people are in panic mode when it comes to eating chicken during a Bird Flu crisis. But, should you be worried? Read on to know if you should worry about eating chicken during bird flu. 


What the WHO says


Chicken and other poultry are safe to eat if cooked properly, according to a joint statement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued to national food safety authorities. However, no birds from flocks with disease should enter the food chain. 


Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus can be found inside and on the surface of eggs laid by infected birds. Although sick birds will normally stop producing eggs, eggs laid in the early phase of the disease could contain viruses in the egg-white and yolk as well as on the surface of the shell.

Proper cooking inactivates the virus present inside the eggs. Pasteurization used by industry for liquid egg products is also effective in inactivating the virus.


Things to keep in mind while consuming Chicken during a Bird Flu pandemic 


According to the FSSAI, cooking chicken at 70°C for at least 3 seconds can destroy the bird flu virus. AIIMS doctors have also said that if chicken meat is cleaned and washed well, it is safe to consume. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while consuming chicken


  • Avoid eating half-boiled or poached eggs


  • Cook the chicken well, ensure you cook it longer, avoid eating kebabs, and bbq chicken from outside to be safer. 

  • Always store meat in closed areas, do not keep them out in the pope. 


If you are in direct contact with raw meat, wash your hands well with a disinfectant soap after you’ve handled the meat. 

According to the WHO, FSSAI, and AIMMS, it is safe to consume chicken provided it is handled well. The precautions for handling chicken are mentioned above. If you follow the steps, it is pretty safe to consume chicken.


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