Tyson Says Not To Worry About Recent Bird Flu Outbreak

In the pandemic era in which we live, it's perhaps not surprising to hear about a flu sweeping through a population. That's the news that's circulating among U.S. poultry farmers, who are contending with reports of an outbreak of a highly deadly avian flu among chicken raising facilities in Kentucky and Virginia — with fears of spreading.

Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a statement detailing outbreaks of "highly pathogenic avian influenza": one in a backyard flock in Virginia, and — more concerningly for those of us who buy our chicken at the supermarket — one in a massive Tyson chicken farm of about 240,000 birds in Kentucky (via Wall Street Journal). If you love chicken — whether fried, roasted, braised, or in chicken soup — you may be wondering how this avian flu might affect you; but Tyson says not to worry.

Tyson is stepping up biosecurity measures at poultry farms

As reported by the Washington Post, chicken producer Tyson is taking measures to contain an outbreak of avian flu that has been detected at one of its facilities in Kentucky. As a representative told the newspaper, all of its flocks are now being tested for the flu before being shipped to market, and, since the USDA has already quarantined the affected facility, there is no chance of spread. Additionally, that facility will be "depopulated" to lower risk of transmission within it, according to the USDA, which didn't say exactly how many birds will be killed.

The reports of flu outbreak among chickens come just days after the virus swept through a population of turkeys in Indiana, according to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. In that case, local officials destroyed 29,000 turkeys in an effort to curb the outbreak.

Even if you did manage to purchase some meat from an infected chicken there is no real need to worry. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consuming this meat does not present a risk to human health. Cooking eggs and poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees kills all bacteria and viruses, and no human cases of bird flu have ever been detected in the U.S. So the next time you spot a sale on chicken at your local supermarket, you can go ahead and stock up without worry.