AMES, Iowa — Avian influenza does not impact the foods that consumers eat, says an Iowa State University food safety expert.
“Consumers should feel safe to eat properly cooked and prepared meat and eggs from poultry,” said Angela Shaw, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and extension specialist in food safety.
Last week avian influenza was reported for the first time in Iowa at a turkey barn in Buena Vista County. This week, the disease was discovered a commercial chicken flock in Osceola County.
“Avian influenza is not a foodborne pathogen,” said Shaw. “It cannot be contracted from eating properly cooked poultry meat and eggs.”
The disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks and geese, and is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. Humans can be infected with the virus, but most cases involve very close direct contact with sick birds.
Shaw said the Food and Drug Administration maintains that properly cooked poultry and eggs pose no threat. She advised that consumers always should follow the FDA’s procedures for safe handling and cooking of poultry products:
Resources for backyard flocks are available from the Iowa State University Egg Industry Center at http://www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/Templates/AvianInfluenzaBackyard.dwt
The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at: http://www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/Templates/AvianInfluenzaConsumers.dwt
The ISU College of Veterinary Medicine has avian influenza information, including materials to protect backyard flocks, at: http://vetmed.iastate.edu/aiv-background-and-resources