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March 02, 2006

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jeorg

yeah, it has been a bit of a concern for me as well since i will be traveling to the land of the french in a few short months. my research on it has turned up the same stuff. although, according to web md, it is safe to eat poultry (even infected) since the cooking (from the heat) process inactivates the virus. the main concern is the spread of the disease to humans, it mutating and then spreading human to human.

i still think chickens deserve to die and be rotisseried and spun around until they are a deep golden brown and then ripped apart and eaten... primarily by me. :0) excellent post.

sara

reason #214 why its good to be a vegetarian: random bird diseases

Linda

While I understand people's chicken fears, I don't plan to stop eating chicken. You can't get the disease from eating the cooked meat, so I am not particularily worried about it.

carrie

I agree with Jeorg! Chickens DO deserve to die and be eaten! I am saddened by this pandemic, but I still do love to cook with the bird and absolutely want to eat it. I'll freak out later when it becomes a problem in the US. Thanks for the update Amy!

Ms. Glaze

Yup, chickens are pretty nasty little suckers to take care of and, like you Jeorg, I feel worse about killing lobsters than chickens (I can't believe I'm writing that, but it's true). Perhaps it's the farmer's heritage in me, I don't know.

And no, you can't get the flu from eating cooked chicken. However, we handle a lot of raw poultry at school which for me sent up a big red flag until I actually researched how dangerous it was in France. Like I said, it's not a human threat here in France as of yet.

However, when we had the mad cow scare years ago, I stopped eating beef even though there were no outbreaks in the U.S. For me personally, until this flu is contained I will try to choose other options (because there are so many) and use it as an excuse to try out other recipes at home.

Unless of course, I walk by my butcher who is always rotissering a dozen or so, and I just can't pass up the smell....

jeorg

just beware, when i lived in france--at the height of madcow-- i gave up beef, and now have a very high intolerance of beef. it makes me sick. i honestly think i would fear the same effect...

i forget about you having to cook it... and it being raw at first. i would give it up then too...

gillian

I can't seem to get enough of chicken lately. Maybe it's my idea of living on the line of danger? But since I'm cooking for another family, I think I should move on to les poissons.

Nik

About a thousand people a year die from salmonella, which can be passed on from handling raw chicken. That's a lot more than avian flu. Risk should always be put into proper perspective, which is why I never cross the road while smoking...

Jamie

I have to say that I completely agree with you Ms. Glaze....I think it will be a while before it effectively works its way into France, but I believe that it will. And when it does it will be devastating. I am a vegetarian, not for moral reasons, but because my body has a hard time digesting meat. But I still have to handle it at school. And after learning more about the avian flu I have become hesitant when plucking out left over feathers from a duck.
I thought a previous comment was interesting about the Madcow disease and now an intolerance for beef. I can understand from a vegetarians point of view the intolerance aspects because when I came to school in Paris I started eating meat again to understand what I was cooking. But my body rejected it. It was like I had an allergy. This is because I hadn't eaten meat in over two years. So, my body stopped making the acids that break down the meat in my stomach. But just because a person stopped eating beef doesn't mean they should have such a reaction...maybe if they stop eating red meat altogether. Like anything else that hasn't been eaten in a long long time, it needs to be reintroduced slowly and consistently.
I think this bird flu is a serious thing that should not be taken lightly. I worry for myself and plan to invest money into some fabulous disposible gloves for poultry work!
Nice article Amy!

Ms. Glaze

Perhaps the article should have been labeled "To Eat Poultry or Not to Eat Poultry–That Is the Question!" Thanks everyone for sharing your views. We had to cook duck and pigeon today which made me cringe a little. Especially because they're both bloody. When I write "poultry" I also mean: ginea fowl, cockerel, pigeon, and quail– not just chicken. Some of these are more "sauvage" than others.

I have heard that the Avian Bird Flu is related to Influenza which also began somewhere in China. Influenza was difficult to contain and practically wiped out villages and cities all over. Of course we are more modern today and have a better understanding of the disease. Yet there are many unknowns for scientists which is why countries are already allocating HUGE sums of money to try and contain it world wide.

I don't know if I would equate salmonella with Avian Bird flu for two reasons: one, Avian Flu is relatively new and just now posing as a world wide threat, and two, most forms of salmonella are easily treatable and symptoms recognizable. Most deaths from salmonella are from dehydration (especially in babies) from it's unfun symptoms. Rarely are salemonella deaths from the strain that effects the lymph tracts.

Ms. Glaze

This article is definately food for thought! It's the notes from the Geneva 2005 summit on Avian Bird Flu with worldwide scientist and leaders. Very interesting... http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2005/avian_influenza/summary_report_Nov_2005_meeting.pdf

Shaula Evans

Amy, I recently discovered your blog and I have been "catching up with you" by reading it back to front, with great pleasure.

If the topic of Avian Flu still interests you, I recommend two excellent resources.

1. The Flu Wiki - http://www.fluwikie.com/ - does an oustanding job of tracking international info on Avian Flu, along with good information on how to prepare for it.

2. John M. Barry's book, "The Great Influenza," chronicles the 1918 flu pandemic, and breaks down the medical science (on topics like transmission of flu viruses between birds, pigs, and humans, and how viruses mutate) to a level that's very accessible to a non-doctor, non-scientist reader.

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