The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) has noted with dismay the misleading messaging by the SABC’s Morning Live show that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread through the consumption of chicken and eggs.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the disease, which spreads from human to human through droplet transmission, can be contracted or spread by eating cooked chicken or eggs.

According to Dr Mike Modisane, chief veterinary officer of South Africa, the spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. “To date, there is no evidence that companion and farm animals, or the products obtained from farm animals, can spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion and farm animals and their products.”

Hygiene remains vital

Regardless, members of the public are advised to apply routine general hygiene measures when handling animals. This includes washing hands with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, as well as avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth. In addition, avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products is advised.

“Food safety compliant hygiene practices recommended by the South African Department of Health and the World Health Organization and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are highly entrenched and an integral part of the operations within the poultry industry,” concludes Aziz Sulliman, chairperson of the SAPA board. – Press release, South African Poultry Association