Experts warn against raw milk during U.S. avian flu outbreak – opt for pasteurized dairy instead

Raw milk could be riskier amid avian flu outbreak in U.S. Stick to pasteurized dairy, experts warn

“Avian Flu Outbreak: How Safe is Your Dairy Milk Purchase?”

Amidst the recent outbreak of avian flu in U.S. dairy cattle, concerns over food safety have come to the forefront. With cows infected with H5N1 producing thick, yellowish milk, consumers are left wondering about the safety of the milk they purchase in stores. But what measures are being taken to ensure the pasteurization process is effective in neutralizing the virus, and what steps can be implemented to further safeguard dairy products?

Ensuring Dairy Product Safety: A Closer Look

“One in Five Samples”: Testing the Milk Supply

Following the discovery of virus fragments in processed milk samples, officials are now conducting surveillance of milk being sold to consumers. These efforts aim to guarantee that no traces of the avian flu virus are present in the milk supply. Early research indicates that pasteurization effectively neutralizes H5N1, even in the presence of virus fragments.

Measures in Canada: Protecting Dairy Products

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has stepped up its testing of the milk supply to address concerns around avian flu. This proactive approach adds an extra layer of protection on top of the pasteurization process. With all commercially sold milk and milk products pasteurized, consumers in Canada can have confidence in the safety of the dairy products they purchase.

The Role of Pasteurization in Ensuring Food Safety

Pasteurization, a crucial step in dairy processing, involves heating food to eliminate harmful germs like bacteria, viruses, and moulds. This process has been hailed as one of the most effective food safety interventions in history. By pasteurizing dairy products at specific temperatures and durations, pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 are reduced, minimizing the risk of outbreaks.

The Dangers of Raw Milk Consumption

While raw milk cheese is available in certain regions, health officials advise against consuming raw milk due to the associated health risks. The consumption of unpasteurized milk can lead to serious illnesses, especially for vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant individuals, and older adults. Health Canada’s mandatory pasteurization of milk in 1991 underscores the importance of protecting consumers from harmful pathogens.

Conclusion: Prioritizing Food Safety in Dairy Products

As the avian flu outbreak raises concerns about the safety of dairy products, it is essential to prioritize food safety measures. By adhering to pasteurization protocols, bolstering testing efforts, and educating consumers about the risks of raw milk consumption, the dairy industry can enhance the safety and quality of its products. Ultimately, safeguarding the milk supply is not only a regulatory requirement but a moral obligation to protect public health.



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