May 1, 2024 - Health

More dairy products safe to consume, bird flu testing shows

Person reaching for a dairy product in front of a refrigerated case of groceries.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Testing found trace amounts of inactive bird flu virus in some pasteurized dairy products like cottage cheese and sour cream, but they pose no risk to consumers, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The results offer additional assurances about the safety of dairy products, one week after the FDA said it found genetic traces of the virus in store-bought milk.

  • That was an indication that the virus may be spreading more widely among dairy cattle than previously known.

What they found: Preliminary results showed no viable bird flu virus in 297 retail samples of dairy products, said Donald Prater, acting director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, on a call with reporters.

  • No fragments of the virus were detected in powdered infant formula or powdered milk products marketed as toddler formula, the FDA said.
  • The agency will continue testing dairy products, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday it is testing ground beef.

Where it stands: The virus has been detected in 36 cattle herds across nine states since March.

  • So far, most cows with the virus have recovered after treatment, said Rosemary Sifford, chief veterinary officer at USDA.
  • The Biden administration now requires that dairy cows receive negative flu tests before they can be transported over state lines.
  • There is no evidence that the virus is present in beef herds or the beef supply at this point, USDA officials said.
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