FDA Launches Nationwide Testing of Ice Cream and Cheese for Bird Flu Amid Dairy Cow Outbreaks in the US

FDA Launches Nationwide Testing of Ice Cream and Cheese for Bird Flu Amid Dairy Cow Outbreaks in the US

The FDA is gearing up to expand its testing for bird flu, this time focusing on ice cream, butter, and cheese.

With dairy cows facing a widespread outbreak, the agency plans to swab 155 products purchased from grocery stores across the country.

Their goal? To detect any traces of the H5N1 virus.

Assessing the Risk: Virus Presence and Public Safety

If any of these products test positive for the virus, further investigations will determine if the virus is ‘alive’ and capable of infecting humans.

Previous tests on grocery store items like milk, cottage cheese, and sour cream found traces of the virus, but in inactive states that cannot cause human infections.

Pasture vs. Raw: Safety Measures and Concerns

Despite concerns over bird flu in dairy herds—more than 120 herds have tested positive—the FDA reassures the public of low risk.

Pasteurization, heating milk to kill pathogens, ensures safety in most dairy products.

However, products like raw milk pose a potential risk as they bypass this safety measure.

Public Response and Consumption Trends

Interestingly, despite warnings, there’s been a surge in raw milk sales, up by 21%.

Influencers advocating for its health benefits contribute to this rise, even amidst safety advisories.

Continuing Vigilance and Testing

To address growing concerns, the FDA plans additional testing on pasteurized milks, cheeses, and cream cheeses.

Samples from various states will undergo screening to monitor virus presence closely.

Conclusion: Monitoring and Safety Measures

While there have been no reported cases of bird flu transmission from dairy products, ongoing surveillance remains crucial.

With continued testing and public awareness, authorities aim to maintain safety standards in the food supply chain.

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