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Raw milk consumption carries H5N1 risk

Raw milk consumption carries H5N1 risk

By Jamie Martin

Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 has infected over 50 animal species, including dairy cows in recent outbreaks. Researchers investigated the risk of H5N1 transmission through raw milk consumption.

Mice fed raw milk from infected cows showed high virus levels in their respiratory organs. While no human infections from pasteurized milk have been reported, the study raises concerns about raw milk consumption.

H5N1 primarily affects birds, but since 2003, it has infected about 900 people, mainly through close contact with infected birds. Recent outbreaks involving dairy cows highlight potential risks in the food chain.

The researchers tested pasteurization effectiveness and found that standard pasteurization times successfully inactivated the virus. However, they emphasize the need for further studies replicating real-world pasteurization conditions.

The FDA assures consumers that the commercial milk supply remains safe. Their initial surveys found no H5N1 in retail milk samples. However, they acknowledge limitations in current research and are collaborating with the USDA to conduct more comprehensive studies on pasteurization effectiveness.

This study highlights the importance of proper pasteurization to ensure milk safety. Consumers, especially those considering raw milk consumption, should be aware of the potential risks associated with H5N1 and other pathogens.

Photo Credit: istock-cagkansayin

Categories: National

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