Bird flu virus detected in pasteurized milk: FDA

April 24, 2024

Particles of bird flu were detected in some samples of pasteurized milk, though the virus in that form is not a threat to humans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday.

As a bird flu epidemic spreads through avian and cattle livestock across the country, the FDA increased testing of domestic milk supplies. Some of the testing samples found inactive remnants of the bird flu virus, killed during the pasteurization process, the agency said.

“To date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe,” the FDA said Tuesday.

The agency is undergoing extensive testing of egg and milk production to ensure that those supplies remain safe from the virus, it said. Results from multiple ongoing safety studies will be released in the coming days.

As of Tuesday evening, the virus — known as Type A H5N1 — has been found in dairy cows in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and South Dakota.

Only two people in the U.S. have ever been infected with bird flu, including a Texas dairy worker early this month. He recovered, suffering from minor symptoms.

The FDA continued warnings against consuming raw eggs and milk, noting that the pasteurization and heat-treating process of store-purchased products ensures their safety.