Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA News Item, 23 January 2004

POULTRY - Avian flu statement

On the basis of advice from its scientific experts, the Food Standards Agency considers that the current outbreak of avian influenza in the Far East does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the deaths of 10 people may have been linked to this outbreak of avian flu in Asia. Some strains of avian flu can be passed to people in close proximity to infected chickens and can occasionally prove fatal. Only a very few cases have ever been reported in the UK and there have never been any deaths.

There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus so far, but the WHO has warned that if it mutates, it could spread in this way.

The Agency has been advised by its Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food that the risk of acquiring avian flu through eating chicken is very low and that there is no evidence to suggest this is a route of infection.

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