Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?

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Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?

Bird Flu Outbreak Hits U.S. Dairy Cows: What You Need to Know

 

Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe

A bird flu outbreak affecting U.S. dairy cows has emerged, casting a shadow over the agricultural sector and raising concerns about food safety. Here's a comprehensive overview of the situation and its implications:

 

Affected States and Virus Strain: The outbreak has spread to more than two dozen dairy herds across eight states, including Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and South Dakota. The strain responsible, Type A H5N1, has previously devastated wild bird populations but is now affecting cattle for the first time, according to federal health and animal agencies.

 

Risk to Public Health: Despite the alarming spread of the virus, health officials emphasize that the risk to the public remains low, and the U.S. food supply remains safe and stable. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reassures consumers that the situation does not pose a threat to consumer health or the safety of the interstate commercial milk supply.

 

Impact on Food Production: Agriculture officials in 17 states have restricted imports of dairy cattle from affected states as a precautionary measure. However, the outbreak has had minimal impact on commercial milk production thus far. Cows are being tested for symptoms of infection, with affected animals isolated and monitored closely. While U.S. egg producers are vigilant following detections in chickens, the FDA assures the public that the risk of affected eggs entering the retail market or causing human infections remains low.

 

Safety of Pasteurization: Pasteurization, a heat treatment process used to sterilize food products like milk, effectively kills bacteria and viruses, including influenza. Consequently, pasteurized milk is deemed safe for consumption, with no evidence suggesting transmission of the virus through properly processed dairy products.

 

Concerns About Raw Milk: While pasteurized milk is considered safe, concerns linger regarding unpasteurized, or raw, milk sold in certain states. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise caution, citing limited information on the transmission of H5N1 in raw milk products. Producers are urged to refrain from making or selling raw milk or raw milk cheese from cows showing symptoms or exposed to infected animals.

 

Eggs and Meat Safety: To date, only dairy cows, not beef cattle, have shown signs of infection. The largest U.S. egg producer temporarily halted operations after detecting bird flu in its chickens, but reassured consumers that eggs in the market were safe. Proper handling and thorough cooking of eggs and meat are recommended to mitigate any potential risks associated with the virus.

 

Ongoing Monitoring and Research: The evolving nature of the outbreak underscores the need for continued vigilance and research. Health officials and experts are closely monitoring the situation, striving to understand the virus's behavior and mitigate its impact on food safety. While uncertainties remain, concerted efforts are underway to address emerging challenges and safeguard public health.

 

As the situation unfolds, ongoing collaboration between health authorities, agricultural stakeholders, and the public is essential to navigate the complexities of the bird flu outbreak and ensure the integrity of the food supply chain.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?
Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?
Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?
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