Bird Flu outbreak: Safe to consume beef, eggs, milk?

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With the ongoing bird or avian flu outbreak affecting more farm animals, concerns are emerging about the safety of consuming animal products such as milk and eggs.

 

Bird Flu outbreak
Bird Flu outbreak

Avian influenza, caused by various subtypes of the influenza A virus, including the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain implicated in the current outbreak, is a primary focus. Experts stress that contracting avian flu from contaminated food is highly unlikely.

Elaine Vanier, DVM, who leads NSF International’s animal welfare and animal feed programs, asserts that H5N1 is not a food safety issue, and the risk of transmission to humans remains low. Industry protocols ensure that poultry infected with bird flu is not sold for consumption.

Due to the virus’s high contagion and severe economic impact on commercial poultry, infected flocks are typically culled and not made available for sale. The USDA mandates that dairy cows test negative for influenza A before crossing state lines, further safeguarding against transmission.

Should the virus somehow contaminate eggs or beef, standard cooking temperatures (at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit) effectively eliminate the virus, along with more common pathogens like Salmonella.

In summary, while the bird flu outbreak raises concerns about food safety, measures implemented within the industry and recommended cooking practices help minimize any risk associated with consuming animal products during this time.

 

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