Bird Flu Found in Milk, But Pasteurization Safe as FDA Confirmed 

Bird Flu Found in Milk, But Pasteurization Safe as FDA Confirmed. Credit | Shutterstock

United States: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new test results on Friday concerning the bird flu virus entering milk processing plants from dairy farms. 

Also, they established that the flash pasteurization method fully eradicates the virus. 

More about the news 

The FDA scooped and analyzed 275 raw milk samples in bulk taken from four different states with clusters of herds infected with H5N1, also known as bird flu. All the samples were collected between April 18 and 27, as CNN Health reported. 

Half of those samples, that is fifty percent, were positive for flu particles. Additionally, a quarter of the positive samples were infectious, which means that when the experts attempted to grow the virus, it increased and could potentially sicken a person. 

This was tested by injecting solutions containing the samples into fertilized chicken embryos, the gold-standard method of determining whether a virus is alive and capable of infecting people. 

Bird Flu Found in Milk, But Pasteurization Safe as FDA Confirmed. Credit | Getty Images
Bird Flu Found in Milk, But Pasteurization Safe as FDA Confirmed. Credit | Getty Images

What more have the experts stated? 

FDA’s Head of Food Protection, Dr. Don Prater, for the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, also pointed out that samples of milk the authorities tested to be processed through pasteurization and would not be shipped directly to the supermarket. 

He, however, claims that some states permit the sale of raw milk for humans or animals to consume. 

Prater added, “That’s why we put out the messaging that we have around raw milk; it could be a potential route of exposure,” as CNN reported. 

Experts recommend pasteurized milk 

The FDA does not advise the consumption of raw milk for human consumption due to the risks of contamination. This month, it called on states to alert the public even more to the risks of consuming raw milk and to screen herds that supply food and beverage items containing raw milk. 

The FDA also advised that states should employ their regulatory figures to prohibit the use of raw milk within the state or within the area that revealed affirmative results for dairy herds. 

According to Prater, regarding raw milk, the FDA conducted tests to establish the number of viruses in milk that could reach pasteurization plants. 

The FDA scientists then proceeded to introduce live H5N1 virus into unadulterated raw milk samples from the University of Georgia dairy, using the concentrations obtained from the assay mentioned above. 

They passed it thought a machine they developed that emulated all the process of flash pasteurization, where milk is heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, as CNN health reported. 

The preparation of the samples involved a preheating step, which was not used in some prior studies, which used the same times and temperatures to kill live viruses. 

Even more, Prater indicated that the preheating step eliminated all of the infectious virus, which showed that it had to be an important part of the process.