Tuesday, August 30, 2011
AVOID BIRD FLU THROUGH SAFE FOOD HANDLING
In the previous post I mentioned the renewed concern about Avian Flu -
"bird flu" - particularly in certain parts of the world. This is one of those frightening microbes that has crossed the species barrier. It is not only deadly for chickens, ducks and other domestic and wild birds. We humans can get it too - and so can our cats, by the way.
A large number of confirmed human cases are believed to have acquired their infection during the slaughtering, defeathering, cleaning or preparation of diseased or dead birds prior to cooking. So if you happen to live in one of those countries currently experiencing outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry, how do you avoid getting ill?
Here are a few facts which you may want to keep in mind:
• Only healthy-looking birds should be used for consumption. However, some poultry that carry the virus do not appear to be sick. You cannot assume that vaccinated poultry is safe from it.
• The H5N1 avian influenza virus can spread to all parts of an infected bird, including the blood, meat and bones.
• Keep raw meat away from any ready-to-eat foods or items that are eaten raw.
• Always avoid contaminating any surface with raw poultry or its juices: this virus can survive for weeks on a kitchen cutting board or counter.
• Wash your hands and any utensils used on raw poultry very well.
• Remember - refrigeration will not inactivate this virus.
• Cooking poultry at normal temperatures (70 °C) will inactivate H5N1.
To your good health,