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Food safety concerns regarding the consumption of poultry and poultry products

Poultry and poultry products are one of the most popular foods around. Recently, there is public concern about the health risk of poultry consumption. In the following context, we will discuss various concerns raised over the safety of consuming poultry:

Veterinary Drugs

- Antibiotics and Hormones

  • There are concerns over poultry and poultry products being contaminated with antibiotic residues as well as hormones and the adverse health effects of consuming such products. Some believe that it is a common practice to inject or feed poultry with hormones to achieve the rapid growth.
  • Antibiotics are mainly used to treat infectious bacterial diseases in food producing animals. Today, veterinary drugs including antibiotics are used prudently and judiciously under the instruction of registered veterinarians.
  • Instead of using hormones as a growth-promoter, nowadays, the industry accelerates the growth rate and increases the production through improvement in feed rations, species selection as well as following good agricultural practice.
  • To ensure that the poultry and poultry products are fit for human consumption, the regulatory bodies conduct effective surveillance of the harmful substances, including hormones and other veterinary drugs, in food. In Hong Kong, veterinary drug residues in food are being regulated and monitored. The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) will remain vigilant in monitoring veterinary drug residues in food to safeguard public health.

Microbiological Risk

- Viruses and Bacteria

  • One common public concern over microorganism contamination in food is whether avian influenza (AI) virus could spread to human through consumption of poultry and poultry products. However, proper cooking can kill the virus effectively and eliminate the risk, if any. There is no evidence suggesting that the disease can spread to human from properly cooked food.
  • Poultry and their meat are produced at farms and processing plants that are monitored and regulated by the regulatory bodies. With the strict ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections as well as health certificate system, these poultry and poultry products are ensured to be safe for human consumption.

General Advice

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet by consuming a variety of foods in the right proportions. This is an important step towards a healthy lifestyle.
  • Cook poultry and poultry eggs thoroughly; all part of the poultry meat should reach 70 ° C.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Keep raw poultry meat and products in well covered container and store it in the refrigerator. Keep properly cooked poultry meat and products separately from raw food.
  • Please refer to the links below for further information.

Avian influenza



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Last Revision Date : 12-11-2015