milk

FDA Says Traces Of Bird Flu Found In 1 In 5 Samples Of Pasteurized Milk 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that 1 in 5 samples of retail milk contains traces of the highly contagious bird flu. They also said that these findings may not be an indicator of an infectious risk to consumers, according to reports from The Hill

The FDA has been publishing updates throughout the week, and just recently shared some of the biggest takeaways from their nationally representative commercial milk sampling study. 

“The agency continues to analyze this information; however, the initial results show about 1 in 5 of the retail samples tested are quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-positive for [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza] viral fragments, with a greater proportion of positive results coming from milk in areas with infected herds,” the FDA stated. 

The Administration continued to state that additional testing will be required in order to determine whether or not intact pathogens of the bird flu are present in the milk and if those who consume it would be at risk of infection. 

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“To date, the retail milk studies have shown no results that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe. The pasteurization process that retail milk undergoes as well as the diverting and destroying of milk from infected cows,” the agency shared.

They also re-emphasized their long-standing warnings against drinking raw milk. Earlier this year, a worker on a dairy farm in Texas became infected with the bird flu after working closely with cows that were later found to be infected with the highly infectious H5N1 strain of the bird flu. 

According to William Schaffner, professor in the division of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, “pasteurization should kill the virus and people generally shouldn’t be too concerned about buying milk from a grocery store.”

“A bird flu virus can pick up the capacity to spread readily from person to person. This is a rare event, every 15 years or so. There’s no indication that the current bird flu virus has picked this up but it’s out there circulating,” Schaffner told The Hill.