Food Safety Magazine

News | March 8, 2017

Tyson Foods: Avian Flu Outbreak Not a Food Safety or Human Health Concern

By Staff

Tyson Foods: Avian Flu Outbreak Not a Food Safety or Human Health Concern

A Tennessee chicken farm that supplies meat to Tyson Foods is confirmed to have a deadly form of bird flu, prompting South Asia to reject imports of American chicken.

A breeding flock of more than 73,000 chickens was found to be infected with highly-pathogenic H7 avian influenza (HPAI). The farm in Lincoln County, TN has since been placed under quarantine and the entire flock was destroyed in an effort to keep the bird flu from spreading.

This week, an official statement from Tyson stated, “Based on the limited scope known to us at this time, we don’t expect disruptions to our chicken business and plan to meet our customers’ needs.”

The company went on to say that the discovery of the bird flu is not a food safety concern, nor is it a threat to human health. “There’s no evidence to suggest that any form of avian influenza can be transmitted to humans from properly cooked poultry.”

Going forward, Tyson says they will test all chicken flocks within a 6 mile radius of the Tennessee farm and any positive bird flu virus results will automatically halt the transport of that flock.

Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture says that this is the state’s first experience with HPAI.

“Animal health is our top priority,” says Charles Hatcher, Tennessee’s state veterinarian. “With this HPAI detection, we are moving quickly and aggressively to prevent the virus from spreading.”

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