REP. HAMILTON REMINDS RESIDENTS CHICKEN AND TURKEY SAFE TO EAT IF AVAIN FLU STRIKES MINNESOTA
ST. PAUL – Minnesota poultry owners may once again be facing concerns regarding the highly pathogenetic avian flu (HPAI), as cases continue to be detected in the upper Midwest.
Because of this, State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) wants to remind residents that they are not in danger if they consume chicken or turkey products.
“When people hear that bird flu is spreading, some will no longer purchase chicken or turkey out of fear that they might be eating contaminated meat,” Hamilton said. “The reality is the poultry products that are available on the market are perfectly healthy and safe to eat. Residents would actually be doing the industry a greater service if they purchased more turkey and chicken during these worrisome times for producers.”
In 2015, an avian flu outbreak caused the death of 9 million birds throughout the state either through contamination or euthanization to slow the spread. Hamilton said poultry producers, as well as the state’s agricultural economy, were crippled by the outbreak.
In response, the legislature provided significant funds to help deal with the emergency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) instituted numerous biosecurity measures meant to slow the spread of avian flu if another outbreak came to Minnesota. Hamilton said these biosecurity measures have Minnesota in a much better place today as compared to 2015.
Hamilton urges turkey and chicken farmers to visit Minnesota’s Board of Animal Health websites to learn more about HPAI and what they can do to combat it. Tips for backyard poultry owners can be found at www.bah.state.mn.us/media/HPAI-Notice-Backyard-Final.pdf. Comprehensive poultry biosecurity steps can be read at www.bah.state.mn.us/poultry/#biosecurity.