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Consumers and caterers assured avian flu outbreak no risk to public health

05 February 2007 by
Consumers and caterers assured avian flu outbreak no risk to public health

An outbreak of avian flu in Suffolk should not stop consumers eating poultry, experts have said.

News this weekend the H5N1 virus has been identified in turkeys at the Bernard Matthews' farm in Suffolk has resulted in the immediate culling of 160,000 turkeys and the setting up of an exclusion zone in the local area.

Despite this, the Food Standards Agency said on its website, "avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers".

The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that in areas free from the disease, poultry and poultry products can be prepared and eaten as usual (following good hygiene practice and proper cooking), with no fear of infection.

The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir David King also stressed the outbreak was isolated and posed no risk to humans.

A statement from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs added: "There is no reason for public health concern. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty, to humans this requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces. Despite this incident, the current level of risk to humans from H5N1 remains extremely low."

Food Standards Agency Bird Flu Advice >>

Investigations in Bird Flu continue >>

Britain awaits poultry export ban >>

By Emily Manson

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