Scrambled or sunny-side up?

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According to UFS Prof. Robert Bragg, the current Avian Influenza outbreak in South Africa is under control and is being closely monitored. PHOTO: Supplied

The debate about whether to have your eggs scrambled or sunny-side up came to a halt as news hit of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) found in the Western Cape. Despite multiple reports addressing the safety of consumption, Bloemfontein Courant spoke to local farmers and an expert, to hear just how safe it is to eat eggs.

According to the CEO of Top-Lay Egg Co-operative, Pieter Pienaar, who supply eggs nationally, there is no proof and no cases in South Africa that bird flu can be transmitted from eggs to humans, or even from an infected hen to humans.

However, the damage of misinformation has been done. “We’ve been working hard the last couple of days to communicate with the consumer and different retailers. The message that went out was clear and the consumer has been put to ease,” he said.

He added that they had a case of bird flu in 2017 and ever since then they have put strict measures in place to ensure the safety of their chickens. “Biosecurity protocols have been developed and fine-tuned. Our vets visit the farms for biosecurity audits to safeguard you as far as possible.” Pienaar advised local farmers to gain as much knowledge as possible and to keep a veterinarian close to you at all times.

Prof. Robert Bragg. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

According to Prof. Robert Bragg from the University of the Free State, Avian Influenza – or bird flu – is a very serious disease among poultry. However, with the long history of influenza and diseases in both humans and animals, Bragg highlighted that there is always a risk that influenza can spread from birds (or pigs) to humans and could cause a serious pandemic but there is no need for panic.

“The current Avian Influenza outbreak in South Africa is under control and is being closely monitored. Be aware of fake news and the ‘evils’ of social media around important subjects like these. Make sure you get the news from reliable sources and do not believe everything you read on social media,” he urged locals.

Bonolo Mmutsi Banda with a tray of her free-range eggs. PHOTO: Supplied

Founder and director of Lee Poultry, Bonolo Mmutsi, said that even though she is not directly impacted due to having a small-scale farm, she ensures that she informs her customers to always report back, should they find any issues with their eggs. “I always ensure that the house is clean and warm. Even though some of these diseases are beyond the farmer’s control, I try my best to ensure that my flock of chickens stay healthy and that I give them the right medication and feeds,” said Mmutsi

News Team
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