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  • Writer's pictureMark Beaven

FDA Releases Update: Evidence of Avian Influenza in 1 in 5 Milk Samples: A Call for Strict Biosecurity

It was announced yesterday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that recent sampling of milk at the retail level have revealed that the samples contain evidence of Avian Influenza. The FDA Update indicated that 1 in 5 of the samples taken were quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-positive for HPAI viral fragments.  It should be noted that qPCR-positive results do not necessarily indicate live viable virus.  However, this discovery definitely emphasizes the need for dairy farmers and poultry farmers to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their animals and prevent the spread of this virus.


Another interesting note of the study was that there were greater proportions of positive results in regions where positive dairy herds have been identified.  While this study's results indicate that Avian Influenza is widespread across the United States, most likely due to its prevalence in the wild bird population.  Wild birds are known to be carriers of the virus, which can easily spread to domestic poultry and potentially to other livestock, which also makes it important that Canadian producers need to be aware of the risks.


Understanding the Risks


While Avian Influenza primarily affects birds, the presence of the virus in milk samples is a cause for concern. It suggests that the virus could be present on farms and might spread to other animals or humans if proper precautions are not taken. Both dairy and poultry farmers need to take this issue seriously.



Biosecurity Measures




To mitigate the risk of spreading Avian Influenza, farmers must implement and maintain strict biosecurity measures on their farms. Some recommended actions include:


1.     Isolation: 

Keep domestic poultry and dairy animals separate from wild birds. Utilize nets, fencing, or other barriers to prevent contact.







2.     Sanitization: 

Regularly clean and disinfect equipment, vehicles, and footwear to avoid transferring the virus between locations.  EthoGuard recommends using Prevail™ Disinfectant for cleaning and disinfecting on farm.

EthoGuard has Prevail™ in stock and ready to be delivered.




3.     Monitoring: 

Keep a close watch on animal health, and immediately report any signs of illness or unusual behavior to the appropriate authorities.


4.     Limiting Visitor Access: 

Restrict access to the farm and ensure that all visitors follow biosecurity protocols.


5.     Education: 

Train farm workers on the importance of biosecurity and provide them with the necessary tools to implement these measures.

Safety of Milk



Despite the concerning findings, it is essential to reassure consumers that milk remains safe to drink. To date, there have been no studies that would indicate that there is any concern about the safety of the milk supply.  The pasteurization process effectively eliminates pathogens, including Avian Influenza, ensuring that milk is safe for consumption. 





However, the study highlights the importance of ongoing surveillance and vigilance in both the dairy and poultry industries to prevent the spread of Avian Influenza and protect public health.


The FDA's recent findings underscore the urgent need for dairy and poultry farmers to adopt and maintain stringent biosecurity measures. By doing so, we can help control the spread of Avian Influenza and ensure the safety of our food supply.

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