Consumer Goods Council of South Africa Reassures Consumers in the Wake of Avian Flu Outbreak

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) Food Safety Initiative (FSI) supports the ban of movement of poultry and poultry products from the affected farms by the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). We support the euthanization of infected birds conducted in a humane manner to prevent spreading of the disease.

At the same time, the CGCSA would like to assure consumers that uncooked, slaughtered, packed poultry and poultry products, as well as cooked poultry products purchased from reputable stores and supermarkets are safe to buy, prepare and consume. There is no need to panic or not purchase these products.

All poultry and poultry products (including red meat, pork and venison) are subjected to diligent inspections to ensure product safety at all times. It is important that consumers do not cause unnecessary alarm and to not spread any false news on social media.

We do however request consumers to take precaution when they handle, slaughter, cook and eat chickens from the affected farms or their own ‘fresh’ chickens (private farms, smallholdings and backyards) without confirmation from DAFF that their own chickens are not infected with the avian influenza. Consumers should also note that DAFF have placed a general ban on the sale of live spent hens across the country. We request that consumers urgently contact DAFF when they detect any dead or sick chickens or birds. (DAFF: phone 078 801-3711)

The safety of consumers is of utmost importance to distributors, manufacturers and retailers. Companies within the food industry also conduct their own audits as well as stringent food safety and quality analysis to ensure that food leaving their premises is safe for human consumption.

Avian influenza affects all types of birds (chickens, wild birds etc). Avian influenza moves from chicken to chicken easily and very quickly. Since the outbreak in Villiers and recently reported on a second farm, it is suggested that the virus is spread and transmitted by, infected migrating wild birds. Avian influenza generally does not affect people. This type of bird flu is not known to have caused any death or serious sickness in people.

Public Health advice:

  • Avoid contact with any birds (poultry or wild birds) or other animals that are sick or are found dead and report them to the relevant authorities.
  • Wash hands properly with soap or a suitable disinfectant.
  • Follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices by cooking poultry and poultry products thoroughly at high temperatures.