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Consumers and Food Safety
Food safety information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
AI is not transmissible by eating poultry or eggs that have been properly prepared. The chance of infected poultry or eggs entering the food chain is extremely low because of the rapid onset of symptoms in poultry as well as the safeguards in place, which include testing of flocks, and federal inspection programs.
Hens infected with HPAI usually stop laying eggs as one of the first signs of illness, and the few eggs that are laid by infected hens generally would not get through egg washing and grading because the shells are weak and misshapen. In addition, the flow of eggs from a facility is stopped at the first suspicion of an outbreak of HPAI without waiting for a confirmed diagnosis. Therefore, eggs in the marketplace are unlikely to be contaminated with HPAI.
Cooking poultry, eggs and other poultry products to the proper temperature and preventing cross-contamination between raw and cooked food is the key to safety. You should follow the same handling practices that are recommended to prevent illness from common foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella. For more information on the safety of handling eggs see: FDA/CFSAN Food Safety Facts for Consumers: Playing it Safe With Eggs.
Human health information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
- CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI infections in wild birds to be low, but has developed interim guidance on testing and prophylaxis.
- No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time. However, similar viruses have infected people in the past. It’s possible that human infections with these viruses may occur.
- As a general precaution, people should avoid wild birds and observe them only from a distance; avoid contact with domestic birds (poultry) that appear ill or have died; and avoid contact with surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from wild or domestic birds. People in contact with known infected or possibly infected birds should take precautions to protect against infection.
- At this time, CDC is coordinating with state health departments on appropriate human health measures and is working with animal health colleagues to minimize public health risk.
- The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) and the United States Department of Agriculture are the lead federal agencies for outbreak investigation and control in wild birds, and the USDA is the lead agency for such activities in domestic birds.