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Despite bovine avian influenza, U.S. dairy products are safe to consume: SFA, food safety expert

Despite bovine avian influenza, U.S. dairy products are safe to consume: SFA, food safety expert


SINGAPORE – U.S. dairy products are safe to consume despite the highly contagious H5N1 avian influenza strain circulating among dairy cows in the country since late March.

The Singapore Food Authority (SFA), which oversees food safety and security in Singapore, told The Straits Times that there is so far no evidence that bird flu can be transmitted to humans through handling or consuming fully cooked food. he said.

An SFA spokesperson said food imported into the Republic must meet food safety requirements and import conditions.

“All imported milk must also undergo heat treatment processes such as pasteurization, which has been proven to be effective in killing bacteria and viruses, including the influenza virus.”

A spokesperson said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detected avian influenza (also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza) in dairy herds in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, and Michigan in March. Confirmed that it was done. . The virus was detected in unpasteurized milk samples taken from older, sick, and lactating cows.

Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona, said in an interview with the American broadcaster Public Broadcasting Service on May 16 that the transmission of the virus from birds to cows is expected to occur between mid-November 2023 and January 2024. He said he believed it happened between the middle of the year.

This was supported by a new research paper funded by the Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The Department of Agriculture believes wild birds, which can carry the virus, infected cattle in Texas. The outbreak then spread as cattle were shipped to other states.

“The data support a single introduction event into cattle from a virus originating from wild birds, which was likely followed by limited local circulation for approximately four months before confirmation by the USDA,” the paper said. states.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of avian influenza in dairy cows in nine U.S. states, with the latest development being that a dairy farm worker in Texas contracted avian influenza from a cow.




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