9th May, 2006: ABC Television is scheduled to air the movie "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" Tuesday, May 9.
The movie depicts a human avian influenza pandemic that may never occur. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) joins the poultry industry in stressing such a portrayal can inflame the fears and prey on the anxieties of Americans at a time when there is a wealth of misleading information circulating about the issue.
ISA believes such misinformation may lead to a negative impact on U.S. poultry production and, as a result, U.S. soybean meal demand. The organization encourages viewers to use the facts below as soon as possible to set the record straight on avian influenza.
# The U.S. poultry industry is of vital importance to Illinois soybean farmers. Layers and broilers, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other specialty birds use about 50 percent of all soybean meal consumed in this country. Soybean meal accounts for roughly 27 percent of all poultry feed consumed.
# The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain found in Asia and other countries has never existed in the United States and is not a pandemic virus.
# According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "human infections with avian influenza viruses detected since 1997 have not resulted in sustained human-to-human transmission."
# The U.S. poultry industry, working with scientists, state veterinarians, and federal, state, and local, governments, has instituted multiple safeguards and strict biosecurity measures to protect flocks from the introduction of avian influenza.
# Commercial poultry flocks in the U.S. are raised in covered structures with limited outside source access. U.S. poultry producers continually test for avian influenza and other diseases prior to processing and have long established sanitary practices in place. If the virus arrives in this country, it will be detected, isolated, and eliminated before it ever threatens the food supply.
# American poultry is safe to eat. Infected poultry entering the U.S. food supply is highly unlikely. Even if it did, washing utensils and cooking poultry to at least 165¡ F kills the virus. Humans cannot get avian influenza, or any other viral or bacterial agent for that matter, from eating properly cooked poultry.
For more information, contact the ISA or call the USDA meat and poultry hotline toll-free at 1-888-MP-HOTLINE or visit www.usda.gov.