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Entries in chickens (2)

Friday
Nov182011

Are Your Eggs Safe To Eat?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of an ABC News investigation into potentially unhealthy conditions at one of America's top egg producers, fast food giant McDonald's announced it would be finding eggs for its famous breakfast menu elsewhere.

Watch the full story Friday night on ABC's 20/20.

But how can you be sure the eggs you're picking up at the local supermarket are clean and safe to eat, no matter where they come from?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 142,000 illnesses every year are caused by people eating eggs that are contaminated with salmonella. And though the FDA has regulations in place meant to keep the eggs clean before they hit your pan, the administration says consumers are their own best safeguard.

Whether the chicken that produced the eggs was infected with salmonella or the eggs were subjected to unsanitary conditions, the most effective way to be safe is simply to cook them, according to former FDA food safety chief David Acheson, and cook them well.

"What do I mean by cook them? Salmonella will be killed if you cook your eggs so that everything is hard," Acheson told ABC News. "The white is hard and the yolk is hard."

To be totally safe that means, according to Acheson, no runny yolks or eggs sunny side up.

For any recipes that require eggs be undercooked, the FDA recommends using eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella through pasteurization.

For more on egg safety, including an instructional video, visit the FDA website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan132011

Genetically Modified Chickens Stop Bird Flu Spread

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The idea of tweaking genes for healthier, tastier or more abundant food makes some people uneasy. But what if genetically modified food could help prevent the spread of a deadly disease, saving human and animal lives as well as money?

According to a study published in Science, genetically modified chickens could stop the bird flu virus -- specifically the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain -- in its tracks.

"The chickens can be infected, but they don't pass the virus on to other chickens in the flock," said study co-author Professor Helen Sang from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

Bird flu outbreaks in the U.S. are rare and involve viral strains that generally affect birds. But over 400 human cases of H5N1 have been reported in more than a dozen countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 60 percent of these have been fatal.

Although there's no sign of H5N1 in the U.S., the country still feels the fury of bird flu. The virus is transmitted to chickens by wild birds, forcing farmers to slaughter entire flocks. So while it hasn't threatened public health, bird flu continues to fuel significant animal welfare worries and economic woes.

But given the logistical challenges of replacing current flocks with the flu-fighting variety -- not to mention mixed feelings about genetically modified food -- the GM approach to beating bird flu may be hard to get off the ground.

"Replacing the world's chicken population with genetically modified chickens wouldn't be cheap. It looks good on a drawing board, but it might not fly," said William Schaffner, chair of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "There are lots of great ideas out there, but the filter of realty whittles them down pretty quickly."

But as poultry farming becomes more centralized, farmers are beginning to get their stock from a few, large suppliers, according to Sang.

"I think it would be very hard to get to the backyard chickens in many of the affected countries," Sang said. "But the majority of the poultry raised are coming from a small number of breading companies and producers who could choose to incorporate the genetic modification into their breeding program."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio