Temperatures above 70°C can kill avian flu virus, says Hilmi
KUALA LUMPUR: The avian flu H5N1 virus in poultry can be “killed” if cooked at temperatures above 70°C.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya assured the public that consumption of infected chicken was safe provided proper methods of cooking were used.
The World Health Organisation said poultry was safe if thoroughly cooked at temperatures above 70°C because the H5N1 virus was destroyed at that temperature.
“Here in Malaysia, we don’t eat raw chicken.
“We fry it, broil it or boil it before eating so the issue of it being unsafe doesn’t arise.
“You can go to your nearest fast food chain and eat their chicken if it is cooked well,” he said yesterday.
While there were no reported cases of the virus infecting humans, Dr Hilmi said the ministry would continue to monitor the situation closely.
The H5N1 virus was first detected in Kampun Pulau Tebu, Tunjong in Kelantan on March 6 after tissue samples were taken from a few dead free-range chicken.
On Wednesday, Kelantan declared a state level disaster, 10 days after the first bird flu outbreak was detected.
A total of 23,768 chickens were culled and 881 eggs destroyed to contain the virus.
In Kota Baru, checks at several fast food outlets showed business was running as usual.
A spokesman at one of the outlets said on the average, the number of customers remained the same as before.
“The H5N1 virus did not impact the business.
“Many know our fried chicken is well-cooked,” he said.
The spokesman said the public should not worry as most franchise outlets adhere to cleanliness regulations put up by the authorities.