Avian Flu Virus Detected in Dairy Milk: Safety and Risks Explained

The FDA has identified traces of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, in dairy milk, raising concerns about the safety of milk products. The announcement follows the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy cow herds across several states including Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas.

Despite its name, avian flu is not typically transmissible to humans, but the FDA, along with the CDC and USDA, is investigating its presence in dairy cows and their milk. The agency assures consumers that commercially available milk products are still safe for consumption as they undergo pasteurization, a process that effectively eliminates pathogens. Nearly all milk products on the market (99%) undergo pasteurization, according to the FDA.

Raw milk products, however, may carry the avian flu virus, among other risks, prompting continuous warnings from health organizations. William Schaffner, MD, an expert in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, supports the FDA’s assessment, stating that the virus is unlikely to be transmitted from milk to humans.

Transmission of avian flu to humans is rare, with only two recent cases reported. One case involved an individual in Texas who had been exposed to dairy cattle and experienced symptoms of conjunctivitis. Another case occurred in Colorado in 2022, where an individual working around HPAI-infected poultry tested positive for the disease.

Zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted between animals and humans, are common, with over 60% of infectious diseases in humans originating from animals, according to the CDC.

The risk of transmission of HPAI through pasteurized milk is extremely low, as pasteurization destroys pathogens. However, the FDA warns against consuming raw milk or products made with raw milk due to the increased risk of infection. Raw milk can harbor dangerous pathogens such as salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter.

Despite pasteurization, viral fragments may remain in milk, but they are not considered a risk to consumer health. Additionally, milk from sick cows is actively diverted from the food supply.

Consumers who suspect they have consumed a contaminated product are advised to contact their local poison control center for medical advice and surveillance purposes.

In conclusion, while the FDA has detected avian flu in dairy milk, the risk to consumers is minimal, especially with pasteurized milk. However, caution should be exercised regarding raw milk products.

Our Mission
We are dedicated to help you maintain your healthy life. Our mission is to provide the highest quality and affordable health care to you and your family.
Your health isn’t just some numbers and figures. A person’s well been lays upon a healthy body, good physical condition and more importantly, a sense of feeling well.

3916 Prince St STE 251, Flushing, NY 11354
43-73 Union St Suite 1B, Flushing, NY 11355

Disclaimer: The content on this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is meant to be a helpful starting point for your own research and should not be solely relied upon to make decisions about your health or the health of others. The author of this blog makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information presented on this site. Under no circumstances should the author be held liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the content or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, medication, exercise routine, or lifestyle, or when seeking advice regarding a specific medical condition or health concern. The use or reliance of any information contained on this site is solely at your own risk. This blog may contain links to external websites that are not affiliated with the author. The author is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of such external sites. Any references to products, services, or health care providers on this website are not an endorsement or recommendation by the author. By using this blog, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the author, their agents, and affiliates from and against any and all claims, liabilities, damages, losses, or expenses, including legal fees and costs, arising out of or in any way connected with your access to or use of this blog.