Poultry Flocks and Food Supply Are Protected From Avian Influenza, Web Site Tells Public

July 10, 2006
Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Richard L. Lobb (NCC), (202) 296-2622 ext. 19
Sherrie Rosenblatt (NTF), 202-898-0100 ext. 227
Hillary Shallo Thesmar, (202) 833-8850

Commercial poultry flocks in the United States and the food products made from them are being carefully protected from avian influenza, according to an industry-sponsored web site.

Industry information, consumer advice, news and comment, and other items are included in the site www.avianinfluenzainfo.com, which has just been revised and relaunched to give consumers more information on industry's precautions and response plans for avian influenza. The site is sponsored by the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and Egg Safety Center, and made possible by a grant from Elanco, a manufacturer of animal health products.

A video on industry precautions aimed at protecting poultry flocks is posted to the web site, along with a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

“American consumers don't have to worry about getting avian flu virus from eating poultry that's been properly handled and cooked,” Dr. Doyle says. “We know that if you properly cook poultry, it's safe.” Statements from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are also posted to inform consumers about the food safety of poultry products.

Informative brochures may also be downloaded from the web site. These include “Avian Influenza: The Facts” and “Protecting U.S. Chicken Flocks and The Food Supply from Avian Influenza.”

Under “What You Need to Know,” the site offers information on important points, including:

  • “Bird flu” is not the same thing as human pandemic flu.
  • The food supply is protected.
  • Testing programs are in place.
  • Birds are inspected by USDA.
  • Humans can’t get avian influenza from properly handled and cooked food.

“We have never had the Asian form of highly pathogenic avian influenza in North America,” said Sherrie Rosenblatt, senior director of marketing and communications for the National Turkey Federation. “Even if it does show up, safeguards are in place to protect the flocks and protect the food supply.”

“We view the site as an efficient way to communicate with the public on the excellent job industry is doing on the farm and all the way through the food chain,” said National Chicken Council Communications Director Richard Lobb.

“Consumers can and should have confidence in the safety of eggs and poultry meat, and this site provides information on the multiple layers of protection that are in place to protect our flocks and our food supply,” said Dr. Hilary Shallo Thesmar, director of the Egg Safety Center.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce, process and market chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities, which increase demand for its members¹ products and protect and enhance the ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high quality, nutritious turkey products.

The Egg Safety Center is a resource center for the egg industry on egg safety and animal health issues. The Center works closely with the American Egg Board and United Egg Producers to provide the most up-to-date scientific information on egg safety research and practices.