7 things to keep in mind when handling raw poultry and meat.

Avian Influenza or Bird Flu.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus can be found inside and on the surface of eggs laid by infected birds. Although sick birds will normally stop producing eggs, eggs laid in the early phase of the disease could contain viruses in the egg-white and yolk and the surface of the shell. Proper cooking inactivates the virus present inside the meat and eggs. Poultry meat and eggs from areas with outbreaks in poultry should not be consumed raw or partially cooked. However, to date, no evidence indicates that anyone has become infected following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products, even if these foods were contaminated with the avian influenza virus.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when handling raw poultry and meat.

Raw eggs and chicken are breeding grounds for the avian flu virus. The virus is destroyed at a higher temperature of 70 °C. Proper cooking at temperatures at 75 °C or above uniformly will inactivate the virus. Hence it is advisable to consume those that are cooked thoroughly.

Precaution to be taken the raw content do not spill in the surrounding areas and do not contaminate the cooked food or food items that are to be eaten raw. Raw eggs and meat should never be allowed to come in contact with cooked food items or the food items that are eaten raw.

Do not wash the eggs and poultry meat in running water as it may cause water splashing and the spread of droplets contaminating the surroundings. To do away with the dirt on the surface of eggs, clean them by dipping in clean portable water or wipe with clean wet tissue or cloth.

Please do not use the same chopping board or the same knife used for cutting raw poultry meat or eggs for any other food item before sanitizing it or thoroughly washing it with soap/detergent.

While cooking an egg, ensure that the yellow yolk becomes firm and avoid eating runny eggs during the course of the outbreak. Consumers need to be sure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no “runny” yolks).

The avian flu virus is destroyed by exposure to sunlight within few hours. Eggs that reach the consumer were likely laid several hours ago; even if the droppings on eggs are carrying the virus, the likelihood of infection is low. However, in the event of an outbreak of avian influenza, droppings on eggs are considered infective, and all hygienic handling and safety precautions should be taken.

Wash and disinfect all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw meat. Not handle both raw and cooked foods without washing your hands in between. Wash hands with good quality soap and water for 20–30 seconds before and after cooking.

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