Even since the bird flu has outbroken in different parts of India, chicken lovers have just one question to ask - is it safe to eat chicken during this time? Well, chicken is one of the most loved food items in the country, especially in North India which is popular for preparations like chicken biryani, butter chicken, and tandoori chicken.
The increasing reports of bird flu in India have majorly affected the chicken sales. Most people are scared to get infected with the flu and are avoiding having meat, eggs, and chicken during this flu outbreak.
If you too wish to know if it is safe to eat your favourite chicken delicacies during this time then read on to know. We had a word with Simran Saini, a dietician at Fortis Hospital and she answered all our questions.
Is Butter Chicken, Chicken Biryani Safe To Eat?
Expert Simran Saini shared that WHO suggests that marinating the poultry meat in spices and then cooking it under a very high temperature that is at least over 70 degrees Celsius for some time will deactivate the virus related to bird flu.
However, there are a few things that one needs to keep in mind while having/cooking chicken at home. She shared that according to the warning, one should cover their hands very well and make sure they do not come in direct contact with the poultry meat when it is raw and has to be washed. This is because when the meat is raw, there are higher chances that the flu comes in contact with your body through your eyes, nose. Hence, it is important to take all the necessary precautions while preparing it.
Next, when the meat is cooked at high temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius for some time, it kills the virus which further makes butter chicken or biryani safe to eat.
The expert recommended searching for organic poultry as they are kept in more hygienic conditions comparatively and if possible avoid poultry for some time till this flu goes away.
Here Is What WHO Advisory Says
A statement on the WHO website reads, "It is safe to eat properly prepared and cooked poultry and game birds." The H5N1 virus is said to be heat sensitive. Cooking food at 70 degree Celsius is believed to kill the virus present in the food.
However, the report further talked about preparing chicken at home and the increased risk of infection. It stated, "A large number of human infections with the H5N1 virus have been linked to the home slaughter and subsequent handling of diseased or dead birds prior to cooking. These practices represent the highest risk of human infection and are the most important to avoid."
If you plan to have eggs, chicken during this time, make sure you follow all the precautionary measures stated by WHO and other health experts to prevent any risk of infection.
Bird flu has been confirmed in 10 states of the country to date. The Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh recently confirmed that there has been no case of human transmission. However, there has been a huge dip in the sales of eggs and chicken.
Are you avoiding eggs and chicken completely or consuming them after following all the necessary precautions? Share your thoughts with us! For more such stories, stay tuned!