FDA Ramps Up Testing of Dairy Products as Avian Flu Spread


Avian flu (bird flu) has spread more widely in dairy cows than US health officials initially thought. This is concerning because dairy cows are a gateway for bird flu to become more infectious in humans. Experts have warned for decades that if the virus jumps to humans, it could cause a global pandemic.

So far, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested 297 samples of milk and some other dairy products, finding inactive traces of the virus in roughly 1 out of every 5 samples. These viral bits were inactive and the products undergo pasteurization process that kills most viruses, leading government officials conclude that they are not able to cause illness.

The new round of testing will sample 155 products, including a wider range of items such as raw milk cheeses, ice cream and butter. The goal of this new research is confirm that pasteurization inactivates bird flu. The FDA did not provide a timeline for releasing their findings, but stated that it intends to publish the results in the very near future.

Full Story: Reuters, CNN