Poultry News and Updates

BACKYARD FLOCK SALMONELLA VICTIMS TRIPLE, 1 DEAD; MORE EXPECTED 

Food Safety News - By Kelsey M. Mackin - August 22. 2017

So far this year, preschoolers account for a third of the 961 confirmed victims in a Salmonella outbreak that has turned deadly and been traced to backyard poultry flocks.

There had already been more confirmed infections related to backyard flocks by Aug. 11 this year than in all of 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency is actually tracking 10 separate Salmonella outbreaks traced to contact with backyard poultry pens.

The CDC’s investigators expect the outbreaks to continue to expand for the next several months, according to a public warning posted Monday. Lab tests have confirmed victims in Washington D.C. and all states, except Alaska and Delaware. The CDC did not report which state reported the death, which was made public for the first time Monday.

“Contact with live poultry or their environment can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness,” according to the CDC  warning.

The federal agency is tracking 10 separate outbreaks, up from the eight reported initially reported June 1. Multiple state agencies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are assisting the CDC with the outbreak investigations.

“These outbreaks are caused by several DNA fingerprints of different Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Litchfield, Salmonella Mbandaka, Salmonella Muenchen, and Salmonella Typhimurium,” according to Monday’s update from CDC.

In CDC’s initial outbreak announcement on June 1, the agency reported it had confirmed 372 people with Salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry. Illness onset dates for those people began Jan. 4 and continued through May 25. Of those 372 people, 71 had symptoms so severe they required hospitalization.

Public health officials interviewed 228 of the sick people before the June 1 announcement. They found 190, or 83 percent, reported contact with live poultry in the week before they became ill.

By July 13, the victim total was 790. The number of hospitalizations had increased to 174, but hospital information was only available for 580 of the victims, so the CDC reported there were likely more admissions.

No deaths were reported in the July 13 outbreak update.

“In interviews, 409, or 74 percent, of 553 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started,” the CDC reported.

In its update Monday, CDC reported interviews with 672 victims have been completed and 498 or them, or 74 percent, had contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.

Anyone who has recently been exposed to backyard poultry and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seem medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure so the proper diagnostic tests can be performed.

Symptoms for most people can include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, beginning 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria.

Illness from Salmonella usually lasts four to seven days. In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the person needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infections are more likely to be severe for children younger than 5 years, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease.

The following safety tips are advised by the CDC, to avoid a Salmonella infection from backyard poultry:

  • Always wash hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds after handling live poultry;
  • Do not allow live chickens, ducks or geese in the house;
  • Do not allow children younger than 5 years to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision;
  • Never snuggle or kiss the birds or touch your face or mouth and do not eat or drink while around live poultry.

More tips for how backyard flock owners can prevent infection can be found on the CDC website.

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USDA ENCOURAGES THE USE OF FOOD THERMOMETERS TO BE FOOD SAFE THIS SUMMER

USDA FSIS - May 25, 2017

Summer is a time for family vacations, backyard barbeques and plenty of outdoor activities with food as the centerpiece. But before those steaks and burgers go on the grill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants to remind consumers to keep their family and themselves safe from foodborne illness by using a food thermometer to ensure meat and poultry is cooked to the correct internal temperature.

“The best and only way to make sure bacteria have been killed and food is safe to eat is by cooking it to the correct internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “It is a simple step that can stop your family and guests from getting foodborne illness.”

Recent research by USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 34 percent of the public use a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers. If you don’t verify your burger’s internal temperature, pathogens may still be present. When eaten, those hamburgers can make your guests and your family sick.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people suffer from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

So how do you avoid becoming a part of those statistics? Follow USDA’s four easy steps to food safety this summer.

Clean: Make sure to always wash your hands and surfaces with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry. If cooking outside or away from a kitchen, pack clean cloths and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

Separate: When taking food off of the grill, use clean utensils and platters. Don't put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.

Cook: Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat and poultry. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food.

  • Hamburgers, sausages and other ground meats should reach 160°F.
  • All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165°F.
  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and of beef should be cooked to 145°F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, and allowed to rest for three minutes before eating. A "rest time" is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. During the three minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys pathogens.
  • Fish should be cooked to 145°F.
  • Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside, and by using a food thermometer you can be sure items have reached a safe minimum internal temperature needed to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Chill: Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze immediately. Discard food that has been sitting out longer than two hours. 

Need more food safety information? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or email or chat at AskKaren.gov.

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Final Indiana Avian Influenza Quarantine Lifted; State Achieves Free Status

Indiana Board of Animal Health - May 2, 2016

The last remaining quarantine associated with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases identified in Dubois County, Ind. has officially been lifted by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH). This quarantine release coincides with the state achieving avian influenza-free status, after logging 90 consecutive days with no new cases of the poultry disease.

On January 15, a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County was diagnosed with the H7N8 HPAI virus. Within 24 hours, another nine avian influenza-infected turkey farms were identified nearby through rapid surveillance testing. Those findings led to quarantines on all 10 farms, as well as the establishment of a 10-km (6.2-mile) radius Control Area that restricted movements of all poultry and poultry products onto and off of farms.

For 38 days, BOAH led the active response to eradicate the influenza virus from the area and assure safe and proper disposal of the birds. Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other state and local agencies assisted to prevent the situation from growing to levels seen in 2015 in the Upper Midwest, when a different HPAI strain caused the loss of 48 million birds on 223 farms. Indiana’s efforts focused on protecting the state’s $2.4 billion poultry industry that employs 14,000 Hoosiers.

State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM stated that HPAI launched an unprecedented animal health event for Indiana and, in some aspects, for the nation. “In hindsight, we feel we got ahead of this virus by testing neighboring farms the first day. The discovery of so many AI-positive sites—nine—in one day was unheard of, even at the height of the 2015 event. Our teams in the field had to scale-up, overnight. But we did it, and completed the task, in 38 days,” he said.

Under USDA guidelines, HPAI-infected farms must dispose of birds, then clean and disinfect the facilities that must sit idle for at least 21 days, followed by environmental testing to verify no virus is present. Only then can a quarantine be lifted and the farm restocked with birds.

USDA also defines when a state can be declared avian influenza free, which is 90 days without new cases after carcass disposal was accomplished. BOAH's goal has been to achieve this milestone to pave the way for international trade to be completely restored.

BOAH's staff continues to work with the poultry industry on preventing another case of HPAI and plan for any future response. BOAH staff will oversee testing of the flocks as the previously infected flocked are restocked in the coming weeks.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, refers to a class of flu viruses that are very deadly to some species of infected birds, including domestic poultry. The disease poses no food safety threat. Poultry meat and eggs are safe to eat.

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Dubois County Poultry Control Area Released After Negative Tests

The 6.2 mile control area associated with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) incident in Dubois County, IN was lifted on Monday, February 22 by the Indiana State Veterinarian.  Poultry owners, commercial and residential, in the area may now resume normal operations and movements of birds and poultry products.

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Highly Pathogenic H7N8 Avian Influenza Diagnosed in Indiana Poultry Flock

Indiana Board of Animal Health - January 15, 2016

 The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been notified by the US Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services Laboratory that poultry from a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County has tested positive for highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza. 

Avian influenza does not present a food safety risk; poultry and eggs are safe to eat.  The Centers for Disease Control considers the risk of illness to humans to be very low.

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USDA Continues to Prepare for Any Possible Findings of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Services - December 4, 2015

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) continues to prepare for any potential findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.  As part of these surveillance efforts, Eurasian H5 avian influenza was recently found in genetic material collected from a wild duck, but testing was unable to determine the exact strain of the viruses or whether they were high pathogenic or low pathogenic. Producers and the industry are working to enhance their biosecurity on farms to help provide even better protection against the virus should a reappearance of HPAI occur.  In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through their state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

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Indiana State Poultry Association Donates Over 73 Tons to Indiana Food Banks

Lt. Governor Sue Ellsperman will join representatives of the Indiana State Poultry Association to celebrate the donation of over 73 tons (146,000 pounds) of poultry products to food banks across Indiana for distribution to hungry Hoosier families on Monday, November 23, 2015.  This donation of high protein meat and eggs is always appreciated by the food pantries that feed the hungry throughout the state. The current donation alone provides hundreds of thousands of highly nutritious meals to Hoosier families.

Read the full press release here.


Bird Movement Ban Lifts September 17

INDIANAPOLIS (8 September 2015) -- Indiana poultry can resume regular movements to shows and sales beginning September 17. Beginning on that date, poultry movements that include a change in ownership must be documented to allow easier disease traces.


USDA and Alvin and the Chipmunks Team Up to Reduce Foodborne Illness

USDA Food Safety Education Staff - October 15, 2015

In an effort to educate children and their families about the importance of food safety, USDA and the Ad Council are joining 20th Century FOX to launch a series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks. The PSAs use footage from the upcoming film Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip to introduce viewers to four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.

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