Eggs and Poultry: Safe to Eat

brown eggsAvian influenza has been in the news recently as it spreads throughout poultry flocks in Iowa. Avian influenza does not impact the foods eaten by consumers and cannot be contracted from properly cooked and prepared meats by consumers. The disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, and geese, and it is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds. It’s possible that humans could be infected with the virus only if they were in very close contact with sick birds.

Following safe food handling and cooking practices for poultry foods will keep
you safe.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw eggs and poultry.
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.
  • Sanitize cutting boards using a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preferences.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes should be cooked to 165°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces containing pasteurized eggs are safe to eat.

The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/Templates/AvianInfluenzaConsumers.dwt.

Source: Angela Laury Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

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