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Food Safety Focus (91st Issue, February 2014) – Food Incident Highlight

Food Safety Practices in Preparing Poultry and Poultry Eggs

Last month, samples of live poultry imported to Hong Kong from Foshan City of Guangdong Province were tested positive for H7 avian influenza (AI) virus. Contingency measures, including immediate suspension of import and sale of live poultry for at least 21 days and culling of live poultry, were implemented immediately to halt the virus from spreading to the community, thereby greatly reducing the risk of AI.

The World Health Organization considers that it is safe to consume properly prepared and cooked meat, including poultry and game birds, since viruses could be inactivated by normal cooking temperatures (i.e. with centre temperature at or above 70oC). The public is advised to cook poultry and poultry eggs thoroughly making sure that the meat is not pink and egg yolks are not runny.

Nevertheless, food handlers are reminded to take precautionary measures to prevent cross contamination. Food handlers should wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling poultry and poultry eggs, use good hygienic practices in food preparation, and maintain good hygiene in kitchen area.