Can chicken curry give you the bird flu? Dr Mayur Dangar, who is in-charge of Mumbai’s animal and bird hospital, Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), said that it’s likely not. He said cooking it on high heat can help kill the virus.
Dangar said that a combination of India spices and cooking the meat in over 70 degree Celcius of heat is effective in killing avian influenza that causes bird flu. However, Dr Dangar warned that those who handle poultry must remain extra cautious.
“People who handle poultry should take special precautions.The possible cause of infections in humans is when they come in contact with birds with the virus. It can get into a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled through the excretions of the birds,” Dangar said.
According to health experts, even well cooked eggs won’t give you the bird flu. While half-cooked egg preparations like the sunny side up’ can get you infected, but not a hard-boiled egg. According to the World Health organisation (WHO), poultry (e.g. chicken, ducks and geese) should be cooked at or above 70 degree Celsius so that absolutely no part of the meat remains raw and red. This is a safe measure to kill the virus in areas with outbreaks in poultry.
“Most strains of avian influenza virus are mainly found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of infected birds, and not in meat. However, highly pathogenic viruses, such as the H5N1 strain, spread to virtually all parts of an infected bird, including meat. Proper cooking at temperatures at or above 70°C in all parts of the product will inactivate the virus,” WHO guidelines say.
Usually, in India, chicken is marinated in several spices like black paper, cinnamon and cloves and along with ginger and garlic.
Ginger has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and studies suggest it can be effective against avian influenza, RSV, and feline calicivirus.
Indian cuisine uses spices — like coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, clove — that are known to provide relief from symptoms of several ailments. These spices, part of the daily Indian diet, are said to have holistic effects on human health.