New warning on bird eggs to reassure the public
26 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before consumption to avoid any risk of bird flu, European Union food experts advise.
26 October 2005
BRUSSELS — Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before consumption to avoid any risk of bird flu, European Union food experts advise.
Although the risk of these products carrying avian flu is extremely low, the European Food Safety Authority has reiterated its advice, the BBC reported.
The warning came after Madrid named 18 'high-risk' wetland areas of the country because they may attract migratory birds.
Agriculture minister Elena Espinosa ordered regional governments across Spain to ban breeding of poultry in the open air within 10 kilometres of these areas.
Meanwhile, EU food experts said raw eggs and chicken can carry bugs and viruses that people can catch, such as salmonella and theoretically bird flu.
By thoroughly cooking these foods people can avoid the risk, no matter how small it is.
An EFSA spokeswoman said, given measures already in place, the risk of bird flu entering the food chain was in fact very low.
She added: "Should this happen in future cooking will also be protective."
The advice has been issued because anxiety about bird flu has raised public concern about the safety of poultry products.
The spokeswoman said: "We are not saying anything new, we are simply reiterating food safety advice."
A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said: "Like EFSA, we are not aware of any reports of people getting avian flu from eating poultry or eggs.
"The issue is people having contact with live birds that have the disease.
"EFSA appears to be reiterating long-standing food safety advice about cooking poultry and eggs thoroughly to kill bugs and viruses."
The European Commission said that the consumption of poultry eggs and meat in the EU poses no bird flu risk to humans.
The H5N1 strain of avian flu has killed at least 60 people in Asia since 2003.
Humans catch avian flu through close contact with live infected birds.
Birds excrete the virus in their faeces, which dry and become pulverised, and are then inhaled.
Therefore, the people thought to be at risk are those involved in the slaughter and preparation of meat that may be infected.
However, the World Health Organization recommends, to be absolutely safe all meat should be cooked to a temperature of at least 70C. Eggs should also be thoroughly cooked.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news