Bird flu affects dairy cows; know your milk.

Bird flu is affecting milk from dairy cows in various states. But is drinking safe?   

The bird flu is affecting cows in eight states to have decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms, according to the FDA.   

As of April 24, the FDA is convinced commercial milk is safe despite the outbreak investigation.   

“... our commercial milk supply is safe because 1) the pasteurization process and 2) the diversion or destruction of milk from sick cows,” a statement said.   

The FDA stated pasteurization, which has been around for over 100 years, “kills harmful bacteria and viruses by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time to make milk safer.”   

"Even if a virus is found in raw milk, pasteurization should eliminate pathogens to a level that is safe for consumers," it stated.   

The FDA reports one Texas resident with avian flu after being exposed to sick dairy cattle. Only red eyes were there, but the victim is recuperating.   

“This infection does not change the H5N1 bird flu human health risk assessment for the U.S. general public, which CDC considers to be low,” the FDA added. The FDA still advises avoiding raw milk.  

Even though Massachusetts cows have not been affected by the avian flu, the FDA has long advised against eating unpasteurized milk.   

Raw milk has caused 2,600 illnesses and 228 hospitalizations during 1998-2018, according to the CDC. The outbreaks were likely caused by Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk.   

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