Updates on H5N1 beef safety studies

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Updates on H5N1 beef safety studies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the food supply, has conducted tests on beef tissue from 96 cull dairy cows condemned at select FSIS-inspected facilities. Meat from condemned cows is prohibited from entering the food supply. On May 22, 2024, viral particles were detected in tissue samples, including muscle, from one cow. To date, samples from 95 cows have tested negative for viral particles. No meat from these dairy cattle entered the food supply.

As part of this study, FSIS collected multiple tissues, including muscle samples from the diaphragm, at FSIS-inspected slaughter facilities from cull dairy cattle that have been condemned for systemic diseases. The samples were analyzed by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) using PCR to determine presence of viral particles. PCR testing does not differentiate between live virus or fragments.

FSIS and APHIS are working together to conduct traceback, including notification to the producer to gather further information.

FSIS personnel identified signs of illness in the positive animal during post-mortem inspection and prevented the animal from entering the food supply. This type of inspection is part of routine FSIS operations. These actions provide further confidence that the food safety system we have in place is working.

Further updates will be provided as testing is completed.

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