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Is Your Thanksgiving Turkey Safe from Bird Flu?


Is your Thanksgiving turkey safe from bird flu? Yes, of course it is. Bird flu hasn’t been found in the US, and in any case cooked poultry is quite safe.

 

Nevertheless, some people are worried. Iowa governor Tom Vilsack has broken with local tradition and is refusing to pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving, instead urging people to “honor the turkey-eating tradition.”

 

However, the Washington Times has reported that turkey sales are “brisk,” with consumers – so far – apparently not worried about bird flu.

 

According to the newspaper:

 

Americans are expected to eat 46 million turkeys on Thursday, according to the National Turkey Federation, a Washington trade group.

 

"Turkey sales are doing very well," spokeswoman Sherrie Rosenblatt said, adding the group had not received any reports of bird-flu fears from consumers. "The only people talking about it are the media," she said.

 

The United States Department of Agriculture has issued an advisory on preparing a Thanksgiving meal:

 

The four basic food safety messages from USDA are:

 

  • Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often
  • Separate - Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
  • Cook - Cook to safe temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked
  • Chill - Refrigerate or freeze promptly

 

There is also extensive guidance on safely thawing a turkey.

 

So make a special effort to enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey. Because, according to the LiveScience website, there is no guarantee that next year, "when the avian flu could reach the United States," things will be so simple.

    

Martin Roth

November 23rd, 2005