The European Union’s food safety agency will today advise consumers to avoid raw eggs and raw poultry in order to prevent the spread of bird flu.
The agency says there is no proof the virus can be transmitted by food but the possibility cannot be excluded. Yesterday the EU banned the import of live birds from countries outside the bloc.
Fears of pets spreading bird flu increased after a parrot died of the H5N1 bird flu strain while in quarantine in Britain. H5N1 first surfaced in southeast Asia, where it has killed over 60 people.
It seems to be spreading westwards on the wings of migrating birds. German officials say two geese have tested positive for bird flu in initial checks, while France has ordered farmers in more than one fifth of the country to move poultry flocks indoors to prevent contact with migratory wildfowl. At an international conference in Canada, US Health Secretary Michael Leavitt said the greatest danger was creating panic.
“What we do know is there will likely be another pandemic. Whether the HN51 virus will be the spark that establishes that is unknown to us,” he said.
At the meeting in Ottawa, Mexico’s health minister called on wealthy nations to set aside some of their influenza drugs, and future vaccines, for developing countries.
It came as Indonesia confirmed that a fourth person in the country had died of bird flu.