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Frequently Asked Questions on food hygiene in conjunction with bird flu

Updated FAQs, 28 August 2007

Concerned individuals are asking whether they can contract the bird flu virus (H5N1) from poultry meat and poultry products. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment voices its opin-ion on this matter in the following questions and answers.

In principle, transmission of the pathogen via infected foods cannot be ruled out. At the pre-sent time, direct contact with infected poultry, however, seems to be the main route of trans-mission between poultry and human beings.

Since the virus is extremely sensitive to high temperatures, thoroughly heated foods are con-sidered to be safe. Meat is thoroughly heated when it reaches a core temperature of at least 70 °C during heating. What consumers should look out for: the meat is no longer red or pink and no red meat juices are released.

There is no evidence of the possibility of human beings becoming infected from raw eggs or raw sausage products containing poultry meat from infected animals. However, it has been shown that the eggs of the infected animals may carry the virus on their shells or in the egg yolk and white. For that reason consumers in countries, in which bird flu has occurred in do-mestic poultry flocks, should - as a precautionary measure - refrain from eating raw egg products (beaten egg whites, tiramisu etc.). In the case of boiled eggs, care should be taken to ensure that both the egg yolk and white are no longer runny.



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