Bird flu is spreading to more farm animals. Are milk and eggs safe?

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FILE – A line of Holstein dairy cows feed through a fence at a dairy farm in Idaho on March 11, 2009. As of April 11, 2024, a strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, that has killed millions of wild birds in recent years has been found in at least 24 dairy cow herds in eight U.S. states: Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Idaho, Michigan and North Carolina and South Dakota. (AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield, File)
A bird flu outbreak in U.S. dairy cows has grown to affect more than two dozen herds in eight states, just weeks after the nation’s largest egg producer found the virus in its chickens.
Health officials stress that the risk to the public is low and that the U.S. food supply remains safe and stable.
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“At this time, there continues to be no concern that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health, or that it affects the safety of the interstate commercial milk supply,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about bird flu and food:
WHICH STATES HAVE FOUND BIRD FLU IN DAIRY COWS?
As of Friday, the strain of bird flu that has killed millions of wild birds in recent years has been found in at least 26 dairy herds in eight U.S. states: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and South Dakota.
The virus, known as Type A H5N1, has been detected in a range of mammals over the last few years, but this is the first time it has been found in cattle, according to federal health and animal agencies. Genetic analysis of the virus does not show that it has changed to spread more easily in people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
HOW IS BIRD FLU AFFECTING FOOD PRODUCTION?
Agriculture officials in at least 17 states have restricted imports of dairy cattle from states where the virus has been detected, but, so far, government agencies say it’s had little effect on commercial milk production. Officials believe cows likely have been infected by exposure to wild birds, but said cow-to-cow spread “cannot be ruled out.

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