Avian influenza: food safety issues
On-going outbreaks of avian influenza have raised concerns about multiple sources of infection and the risk to humans from various exposures. The vast majority of human cases acquire their infection following direct contact with infected live or dead poultry. To date, no epidemiological data suggest that the disease can be transmitted to humans through properly cooked food (even if contaminated with the virus prior to cooking). However, in a few instances, cases have been linked to consumption of dishes made of raw contaminated poultry blood.
The Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses of WHO has developed a series of guidance documents to address the concerns related to food safety and food handling with recommendations to maintain the safety of the food supply in and outside avian influenza outbreak area. The recommendation on proper food handling and cooking included in these notes are based on the WHO 5 keys for safer food.