CORONA VIRUS AND POULTRY. IS IT SAFE?

Prateek Lamechwal
Prateek Lamechwal

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There is a lot of hue and cry amongst people, not knowing whether or not to eat chicken/poultry products at this moment. Union Ministry of animal husbandry has clarified that chicken consumption may be considered safe as no report has so far confirmed its involvement in coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed over 900 lives in China. According to findings known at this moment, the predominant route of transmission of 2019 nCoV, appears to be human to human, as per World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) though 2019 nCoV may have had an animal source, this will require further investigation. Poultry has not been found to be involved in the transmission of 2019 nCov to humans so far in any report globally. Similar outbreaks in the past (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 2002-03, Middle East respiratory Syndrome (MERS) 2012-13) or corona associated common cold had no involvement of poultry or poultry products.

Thus, with knowledge of present affairs of 2019 nCoV, consumption of poultry and poultry products may be considered safe. The general principles of hygiene, however, may be followed as per the suggestions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) or OIE. For your reference WHO suggestions for hygiene- In accordance with advice offered by the WHO, as a general precaution, when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets, general hygiene measures should be applied, including regular handwashing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Any contact with other animals possibly living in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats) should be strictly avoided. Attention should also be taken to avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities. Standard recommendations issued by WHO to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices. Further recommendations from WHO can be consulted here: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus# Based on currently available information, travel or trade restrictions are not recommended.

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