News

Bird flu worries: can poultry meat still be eaten?


Avian flu outbreak: virus transmission from poultry meat?
Avian flu is currently spreading strongly in Germany. Some citizens are unsettled; they prefer to keep their hands off poultry meat. But is it possible to get avian influenza from eating meat products?

Virus transmission from meat consumption is unlikely
After the spread of bird flu in Germany, fear has spread that it could be dangerous to eat poultry. But experts are now giving the all-clear. According to a message from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), virus transmission (H5N8) from eating poultry meat and poultry meat products is unlikely.

No human H5N8 infections are known
As the experts write, a virus of the H5N8 subtype was found in the current outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (avian influenza) in wild poultry. It is now known that this pathogen was also found in factory farming in Schleswig-Holstein, which is why 30,000 chickens are culled in a company there.

Human infections with H5N8 have so far not been reported. However, other viruses, such as H7N9, are demonstrably transferable to humans and can trigger typical bird flu symptoms such as fever, cough and sore throat.

Poultry can be eaten
According to the BfR, transmission of the pathogen (H5N8) via infected food is theoretically conceivable, but unlikely. "In the past, direct contact with infected live poultry was almost exclusively responsible for the transmission of other subtypes (H5N1, H7N9) of avian influenza viruses from birds to humans," the report says.

At the last outbreak of bird flu in Germany, experts had already pointed out that poultry can be eaten.

So far, there is no evidence of the possibility of infection of humans by raw eggs or raw sausage products with poultry meat from infected animals. Nevertheless, care should always be taken to ensure that hygiene rules are observed when handling and preparing raw poultry meat and poultry meat products. Also against the background that poultry meat is often contaminated with germs.

Comply with general hygiene rules
Hygiene is particularly important for some foods. Raw poultry products and other foods should be stored and prepared separately, especially if the latter is not reheated.

Always clean equipment and surfaces that have come into contact with raw poultry products thoroughly with warm water and detergent additive. Packaging materials, thawing water and the like should always be disposed of immediately. Wash hands with warm water and soap.

Always thoroughly cook food with poultry meat, i.e. heat it to a core temperature of 70 degrees for at least two minutes. According to the BfR, eggs should be boiled before consumption until the egg whites and egg yolks are firm, i.e. depending on the size for at least six minutes. (ad)

Author and source information



Video: Should you be afraid of bird flu? Expert explains avian influenza (September 2021).