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FDA testing shows pasteurized milk is safe amid bird flu outbreak on dairy farms

May 20, 2024

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week reaffirmed its May 10 report showing no evidence of live H5N1 virus in a sampling of commercial, pasteurized milk products.

Responding to bird flu outbreaks among dairy cows across the U.S., FDA milk specialists collected 297 samples from stores in 17 states according to an update Monday at Those samples were produced at 132 processing stations across 38 states, some with reports of infected herds and some without. Scientists at the U.S. National Poultry Research Center (ARS) analyzed the samples, and none contained the live virus.

“These findings further support our assessment that the milk safety system including pasteurization is effective against this virus,” the FDA report stated, “and that the commercial milk supply remains safe.”

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal earlier this month reported that cats living on dairy farms had died after drinking infected cow milk, suggesting H5N1 can pass to mammals via raw milk.

The AAP, FDA and CDC all recommend against consuming raw, or unpasteurized, milk products.

One human case of H5N1 infection has been reported in the U.S. this year. The Texas patient, who worked with presumably infected dairy cows, reported conjunctivitis as their sole symptom and was treated with antiviral flu medication, according to the CDC.

Latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show confirmed cases of H5N1 among dairy cows in nine states: Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas.


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