The International Poultry Council (IPC) says Russian authorities have responded promptly to limit the spread of avian flu to humans.
In the wake of news that seven workers on a poultry farm in Russia are the first humans to be infected with the H5N8 strain of avian influenza, the International Poultry Council (IPC) believes it is important to ensure consumers that poultry meat is a safe food.
Avian influenza is a potential zoonotic disease and there are internationally established measures that guarantee food security and that include the proper handling and cooking of birds, as well as worker safety and biosafety. In addition, sick birds cannot enter the supply chain.
"In Russia, authorities responded promptly to the incident, implementing measures to protect humans and animals and to minimize risks, ensuring that the situation does not progress. All seven people affected are in good health and the clinical course of the disease was very mild, the authorities confirmed. The head of the Russian Federal Service for Monitoring Consumer Rights and Human Welfare also said that the WHO (World Health Organization) was notified, according to the normal protocol", siad IPC in a press release.
Based on scientific knowledge of avian influenza, chicken and other poultry products are safe food if cooked properly, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). No plant birds with the disease should enter the food chain, they note, and consumers can remain confident in the safety of poultry meat and the efforts of the poultry industry to ensure the safety and protection of their customers.
The poultry industry, in coordination with government authorities, continuously monitors and seeks to identify the risks of avian influenza early. These risks are due, in part, to exposure to wild animals with viral positivity. As in this case, immediate actions are taken to identify specific strains. These ongoing efforts control the spread of the disease. In addition, biosafety measures implemented by the industry minimize the risk of disease transfer.
In addition, the scientific literature shows unequivocally that avian influenza is not a food safety problem. Chicken meat is nutritious and safe; consumers should only cook and prepare it properly, following normal hygiene rules
In rare situations, individuals who have frequent and prolonged contact with poultry species - mainly people working in the sector - have been infected with the avian influenza virus, as was the case in this case. This accidental infection is self-limiting because the infected person is unlikely to transmit the virus to another person.
Governments and industry specifically monitor the potential transfer of avian influenza to humans and act together to eliminate these risks. And, as noted here, the virus cannot be transferred from one human being to another. Consumers can therefore be assured that properly cooked poultry is safe for consumption.