Avian flu virus can last forever at a temperature dozens of degrees below freezing, as is found in the northern most areas that migratory birds frequent. Heat kills H5N1 (i.e. inactivates the virus): Over 30 days at 0ºC (over one month at freezing temperature) 6 days at 37ºC (one week at human body temperature) 30 minutes 60ºC Inactivation of the virus also occurs under the following conditions: Acidic pH conditions Presence of oxidizing agents Exposure to disinfectants such as formalin and iodine compounds
Raw poultry meat (including chickens) and poultry eggs (including chicken eggs), like other raw/uncooked foods, may be contaminated by bacteria or viruses such as salmonellas or avian flu virus. For consumers, the mainstay of control lies with thorough cooking, which can kill the bacteria and viruses on contaminated foods. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), to date there is no evidence to suggest that avian flu could be spread through well cooked contaminated foods. Based on the above, the chance of getting avian flu through consumption of well cooked contaminated poultry meat or poultry eggs is extremely low. As a general precautionary measure, consumers are advised to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene at all times.
After handling live chickens, frozen or thawed raw chicken or eggs, wash your hands thoroughly with soap or liquid cleanser. Surfaces, utensils and equipments that have been in contact with raw poultry meat should be thoroughly cleansed. Use separate knives and chopping boards for raw foods (like uncooked chicken meat) and ready-to-eat foods. Uncooked poultry meat should be kept in well covered containers. It should be stored in the lower compartment of the refrigerator. Ready-to-eat food and cooked food should be kept in the upper compartment to prevent cross-contamination.
Do not use raw or soft boiled eggs for preparation of foods that will not be subject to further cooking. Do not eat raw chicken eggs or dip cooked food into any mixed sauce of raw chicken eggs. Chicken eggs should be well cooked until the white and yolk become firm. Poultry meat should be cooked thoroughly before consumption. The centre of poultry meat should reach 70°C continuously for at least two minutes. If there are pinkish juices running from the cooked chickens or the middle part of the chicken bone is still red in colour, the chicken should be cooked again until fully done.
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