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Avian Flu Safety Information

Food Safety

Eating properly handled and cooked poultry is safe. If highly pathogenic H5N1 were detected in the U.S., the chance of infected poultry entering the human food chain would be extremely low. Even if it did, proper cooking kills this virus just as it does many other disease organisms and parasites. Poultry products imported to the U.S. must meet all safety standards applied to foods produced in the U.S.

  1. Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food;
  2. Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other foods;
  3. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water;
  4. Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water; and
  5. Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the safe internal temperature--in all parts of the bird. Cook poultry to at least 165 F to kill foodborne germs that might be present, including the avian influenza virus.

Bird Owners

Biosecurity Monitoring and Report:
An outbreak of a bird disease such as Exotic Newcastle Disease or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza could not only harm your birds, it could kill other nearby birds and quickly spread through your flock. Bird owners should "report" sick or suspicious birds to local veterinarian, and/or extension agent and to practice good biosecurity.

  1. Look for Signs. Watch for signs of disease or unexpected deaths among your birds.
  2. Report Sick Birds. Don't wait! Early detection can make a difference. If your birds are sick or dying, call USDA's Veterinary Services at (717) 540-2777, or your State Veterinarian or local extension agent to find out why.

More information from the bird biosecurity website.


The Department of Interior's National Wildlife Health Center has issued guidance to follow routine precautions when handling wild birds.

  1. Do not handle birds that are obviously sick or birds found dead.
  2. Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands with soap and water (or with alcohol-based hand products if the hands are not visibly soiled), and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  3. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling or cleaning birds.
  4. Cook all game meat thoroughly (at least to 165 F) to kill disease organisms and parasites.

Local NYS Contact Information:
United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
1930 Route 9
Castleton, NY 12033

Phone: 518-477-4837 FAX: 518-477-4899
Web Site: