The Food Standards Agency has reaffirmed its belief that avian flu does not pose a food-safety risk. Chief executive Jon Bell told an FSA board meeting that the agency had reviewed this advice and concluded it should not be changed.
He said: "Our general advice remains that poultry meat should always be cooked properly to avoid food poisoning, and that will destroy any flu virus. With eggs, we feel that if eggs are cooked until the white is firm, that is sufficient to reduce the risk to a very low level, if it exists at all."
Bell said that the normal route of infection of avian flu was respiratory and not through ingestion. "The experts tell us there are further safeguards, such as gastric juices and the lack of receptors in the gastro-intestinal tract for this particular virus. That would act as an additional barrier, should there even be small amounts of virus left in any of the products."
Washing hands remained important generally when handling any poultry products, and would also help to ensure that the virus was not spread. There was currently no evidence anybody had been infected by eating poultry products.