Avian Influenza: It's Not In Your Food

The scientific name for "bird flu" is "H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza" or "H5N1 HPAI."

We do not have H5N1 HPAI in the United States, and we have never had it.

Furthermore, you can feel confident that you cannot get the human form of avian influenza from properly handled and cooked food.

The heat of normal cooking destroys the virus that causes avian influenza. Microorganisms of all kinds are destroyed when the product reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

As usual, you should continue to take the normal steps to ensure the quality and safety of poultry products - chicken, turkey and eggs.

  • Keep the product refrigerated or frozen until ready to cook.
  • Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods.
  • Wash working surfaces (including cutting boards), utensils and hands after touching raw meat or poultry.
  • Cook thoroughly.
  • Keep hot foods hot.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.

The following chart provides the temperature to which your food is not only safe, but is the best quality:

  • Chicken, Turkey White Meat: 170 degrees F
  • Chicken, Turkey Dark Meat: 180 degrees F
  • Ground Chicken, Turkey: 165 degrees F
  • Eggs: 160 degrees F

Be assured that if the dangerous types of avian influenza should occur in the United States, the flocks involved will be destroyed. They will not be sold for use as raw food. No special precautions need to be taken by the consumer because of any fears about avian influenza.