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Government Releases Interagency Risk Assessment of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Following Input from the Public

Constituent Update

August 20, 2010

On August 20, 2010, the Federal Government released an assessment of potential food risks posed by H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV, commonly called bird flu), providing health authorities and others with a science-based approach to preventing human illness from the virus. The Risk Assessment was developed by an interagency work group that included the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. To date, the virus has not been found in the United States. The Risk Assessment evaluates the relative effectiveness of various strategies to reduce or prevent human exposure to HPAIV from eating poultry, eggs, and egg products. It also can help health authorities and scientists identify what research is needed to better understand the risks and how to prevent them, and provide a structure for effective communications should actual risks arise. 

The public was invited to review a draft of the document and provide comments, which then were taken into account when the workgroup wrote the final draft. A copy of the comments from the public is included in the document. The final draft underwent peer review by an outside panel of experts.

The document is available on FSIS' Web site at:

For additional information, contact Neal J. Golden, Office of Public Health Science, at (202) 690-6419 or

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