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The bird flu virus (H5N1 virus) has now been found in a number of American dairy herds and in raw milk from infected cows. Thus the medical advice is to avoid raw milk and raw milk products (such as raw milk cheeses). But medical experts and the CDC are now also warning about thoroughly cooking eggs and meat.

The virus is now in numerous dairy herds, in chicken flocks, and there have been outbreaks among more than 200 mammalian species. This is why medical advice is to avoid eating runny eggs and raw or medium raw beef.

The USDA conducted a study in which high amounts of the virus was injected into beef. No trace of the virus was left after the meat was cooked medium to well done (about 145 to 160 degrees F), but the virus was found in meat cooked to lower temperatures (120 degrees F). [By the way, the USDA recently tested 30 samples of grocery store ground beef and all 30 tested negative for the bird flu virus. But it was only 30 samples!!]

CDC guidelines for Preparing and Consuming Food:

For poultry:

  • Cooking poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including bird flu viruses. People should separate uncooked (raw) poultry from cooked foods and foods that won’t be cooked. Cook all poultry and poultry products (including eggs) all the way before eating. More information about safe handling and cooking of poultry can be found here: Chicken and Food Poisoning 

For beef:

  • Cooking beef to the appropriate internal temperature kills bacteria and viruses, including avian influenza viruses. Cook all beef products thoroughly before eating. Refer to this list of safe minimum internal temperatures for different cuts of beef. Separate uncooked (raw) beef from cooked foods or foods that won’t be cooked to prevent cross-contamination.

...continue reading "Bird Flu Virus and Cooking Beef"

Time to avoid raw milk and raw milk cheeses. The bird flu virus (H5N1) has been spreading among dairy cows for months, and now scientists are finding extremely high amounts of the bird flu virus in cows' milk. The good news is that pasteurization will kill the virus.

The big concern is that somehow the virus will mutate and start infecting humans on a large scale. Besides cattle, there have been outbreaks of the virus in over 200 species of mammals since 2022. Millions of wild birds have died from the virus.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that: 1) The H5N1 bird flu virus survived in raw dairy milk kept under refrigerated conditions for at least 5 weeks (they didn't test beyond that point). 2) When mice consumed infected raw milk, they showed signs of illness. This suggests that drinking raw milk may pose a risk of transmission to people. 3) Pasteurization "neutralized" the virus

The CDC says it's not just raw milk, but also any raw milk dairy products - cheeses, yogurt, ice cream can be contaminated by the virus and to avoid eating them.

The following article reports that as of June 5, H5N1 infections have been confirmed in more than 80 dairy herds in 9 states and in 3 dairy farm workers, who had mild symptoms (first 2 had conjunctivitis type eye symptoms, the 3rd had respiratory symptoms). A number of cats have died from the virus after ingesting raw milk.

Excerpts from Nature: Huge amounts of bird-flu virus found in raw milk of infected cows

Milk from cows infected with bird flu contains astronomical numbers of viral particles, which can survive for hours in splattered milk, new data shows1,2. The research adds to growing evidence that the act of milking has probably been driving viral transmission among cows, other animals and potentially humans. ...continue reading "Raw Milk and Raw Milk Products May Contain the Bird Flu Virus"