Bird flu detected in pasteurised milk products in US

Bird flu has been detected widely in pasteurised milk products in the US.

Experts were asked about the safety of drinking pasteurised and raw milk and this remains a developing and emerging conversation.


An outbreak of avian influenza in American dairy cattle has shown no signs of slowing in recent weeks,.

This is reportedly coming with nine states reporting cows infected with the H5N1 virus.

The virus does not typically jump from cows to humans, but in April a farm worker in Texas tested positive for bird flu.

Remnants of the bird flu virus (H5N1) have been found in 20% of pasteurised milk samples in the US. Pasteurisation is a heating process used to kill pathogens such as the H5N1 virus, leaving non-infectious, inactive fragments of the virus behind.

The majority of milk in the US is pasteurised, going through an intensive heating process which kills pathogens, such as H5N1.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly recommends against drinking raw milk.

The Big Question – Is pasteurised milk safe?

In an initial study, the FDA tested 297 commercial dairy products from 38 states and detected high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viral particles in one in five samples.

“This suggests that HPAI infection in dairy cows was more widespread than previously appreciated,” the FDA wrote in its findings.

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