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HPAI Found in Cattle, but Milk and Properly Prepared Meat is Safe

The USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in cattle. The agencies say the disease seems to be affecting primarily older cows in Texas, Kansas, and New Mexico.

This is the first time that HPAI has been identified as affecting dairy cattle and only the second time the virus has been detected in a ruminant animal. The commercial milk supply remains safe due to the federal animal health requirements and pasteurization. Milk from the affected herds is not allowed to enter the milk supply.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says migratory birds are the likely source of the infection. “At this stage, there’s no concern that this circumstance poses a risk to consumer health,” APHIS said in a news release. Federal and state agencies are moving quickly to conduct additional testing for specific HPAI strains.

The Meat Institute responded to the announcement by assuring the public that properly prepared beef is safe to eat and not a safety risk to humans.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA food safety experts say properly prepared beef is safe to eat,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “HPAI cannot be transmitted to humans by eating meat or poultry products.”

Potts also said the Meat Institute and its member companies will continue to be vigilant to aid in the efforts to stop the spread of the disease among animals in food production. “We will support the nation’s producers working to protect their herds,” said Potts.