The six poultry farms from which the U.S. military buys eggs were inspected and labeled as safe after avian influenza was discovered in Japan last week, according to Defense Commissary Agency officials.

According to a DeCA statement, U.S. Army Veterinary Command officials inspected the farms.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Robert Coger, DeCA’s Pacific food safety officer, was quoted in the release as saying the six farms were “listed in the ‘Directory of Sanitarily Approved Food Establishments for Armed Forces Procurement’ as a safe source to purchase eggs for the military community.”

Yamaguchi officials said Friday they had killed 19,655 chickens at the Win Win Farm, near Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, after the H5N1 strain of avian flu was confirmed Tuesday by the National Institute of Animal Health.

Workers were burying the chickens on nearby city-owned land near the town of Ato.

They also said they burned more than 9,700 pounds of eggs recalled from more than 100 stores across the prefecture.

Yamaguchi officials maintain humans cannot contract the flu from eating eggs or chicken meat, but they instituted the voluntary recall and destroyed the eggs to ease local citizens’ fears.

Japanese and U.S. military officials said the only way to contract the flu is via contact with a live, infected chicken.

But Iwakuni officials were still running advisories on the American Forces Network and the commander’s channel warning people not to purchase or eat chickens or eggs bought off base.

The strain at the Win Win Farm is the same strain discovered in South Korea, Vietnam and Hong Kong, where officials also have killed tens of thousands of chickens.

The World Health Organization said H5N1 is responsible for three deaths and is suspected in at least a dozen other deaths in Vietnam.

Sandy Horan, DeCA zone manager for commissaries in Japan, stated in the release that authorities are monitoring the situation to “protect the health of our customers.”

“As is always the case, customers who wish to return commissary products for a full refund may do so without question,” she stated.

Anyone with questions about food safety or quality assistance can call Coger at DSN 268-4731.

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