A document issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India suggests that proper cooking inactivates the bird flu virus present inside meat and eggs.
In view of the bird flu scare in the country, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a guidance document on "Safe handling, processing and consumption of poultry meat and eggs during bird flu pandemic" for creating awareness among the food business operators (FBOs) and consumers.
The document suggests that proper cooking inactivates the virus present inside meat and eggs. Poultry meat and eggs from the areas affected by the outbreak of bird flu should not be consumed raw or partially cooked. Properly prepared and cooked poultry meat and eggs are safe to eat, the FSSAI said.
"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," FSSAI said.
WHO also states that it is safe to consume poultry meat and eggs
The World Health Organization (WHO) also states that it is safe to consume poultry meat and eggs. According to the WHO official website, there is no epidemiological data which suggests that the disease can be transmitted to humans through cooked food.
The major Do's and Don'ts suggested are -- do not eat half-boiled eggs, do not eat undercooked chicken, avoid direct contact with birds in the infected areas, avoid touching dead birds with bare hands, do not keep raw meat in the open, no direct contact with raw meat, use mask and gloves at the time of handling raw chicken, wash hands frequently, maintain the cleanliness of surroundings and eat chicken, eggs and their products after cooking.
The virus is destroyed at a temperature of 70-degree Celsius if held for about three seconds. Also, properly cooking meat or eggs to achieve a temperature of 74-degree Celsius in eggs or all parts of meat will inactivate the virus.
The FSSAI has urged the FBOs and consumers not to panic and ensure proper handling and cooking of poultry meat and eggs for their safe consumption as outlined in the guidance document.
Although sick birds will normally stop producing eggs, eggs laid in the early phase of the disease could contain the virus in the egg-white and yolk as well as on the surface of the shell. Proper cooking inactivates the virus present inside the meat and eggs, the FSSAI said.