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Avian Influenza Info

CDC Statement on the Food Safety of Poultry Products

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Information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on the Food Safety of Poultry Products from Avian Influenza

Updated May 9

Can I get avian influenza from eating or preparing poultry or eggs?

You cannot get avian influenza from properly handled and cooked poultry and eggs.

The global and national efforts to prevent and control avian influenza in poultry are important. It is also important to know that there is currently no scientific evidence that people have been infected with bird flu by eating safely handled and properly cooked poultry or eggs.

People are most likely to be exposed to avian influenza virus by handling or killing live infected birds or by touching surfaces contaminated by live infected birds. Even if poultry and eggs were to be contaminated with the virus, proper cooking would kill it.

In fact, recent studies have shown that the cooking methods recommended by USDA and FDA for poultry and eggs to prevent other infections are more than enough to destroy the influenza virus too. So to be safe, the advice is the same as always:

Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry and eggs

Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep raw poultry from contaminating other foods

And of course, cook poultry to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit and eggs until whites and yolks are firm. Consumers may wish to cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preference.

Remember to use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature that will kill foodborne pathogens that might be present, including bird flu virus.

The U.S. government carefully controls domestic and imported food products, and in 2004 issued a ban on importation of poultry from countries affected by avian influenza viruses, including the H5N1 strain. This ban is still in place. For more information, see Embargo of Birds from Specified Countries.


U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

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