All of our U.S. poultry operations continue to operate under heightened biosecurity as a result of avian influenza outbreaks that affected the poultry industry in the U.S. in 2015, and we continue to communicate best practices to all farmers who contract with us.
Our heightened measures include limiting non-essential visitor access to our contract farms, maintaining proper disinfection of vehicles entering those farms and the use of a biosecurity uniform for all visitors. Additional precautions for on-farm footwear have been established to prevent potential tracking of the virus into poultry houses. Tyson Foods employees who come in contact with live birds have received additional training specifically designed to help protect against the spread of avian influenza and we frequently communicate additional biosecurity guidance to the farmers who grow for our company.
We test all Tyson-owned flocks for the virus before they leave the farm, and we know the results before they’re processed. Should any flock be diagnosed with highly pathogenic avian influenza, farms are immediately quarantined and birds from them are not processed.
There’s no evidence to suggest that any form of avian influenza can be transmitted to humans from properly cooked poultry. According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, properly cooked poultry (minimum of 165 degrees with proper hygiene) is perfectly safe to eat.
Does avian influenza (bird flu) affect the food I buy?
No. This is not a food safety or human health issue. Avian Influenza is not foodborne and cannot be transmitted through properly cooked food. Safe food handling practices are a great way to help ensure the integrity of your food. (Cooking poultry to 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses).
Is this the same kind of avian influenza found in Asia?
No. H7N9 is one of the eight kinds of AI virus found in North American but is distinctly different than the one in China. For more information on this topic, visit USDA’s website.
We continue to closely monitor the health of our flocks and operate under heightened biosecurity, which includes limiting access to the farms birds are raised.
Additional resources about avian influenza
Chicken Check In – What do I need to know about avian flu?
National Chicken Council – Questions and Answers on Avian Influenza
U.S. Department of Agriculture – Avian Influenza
Media Contact: Worth Sparkman, 479-290-6358, Worth.Sparkman@tyson.com