CFIA testing for HPAI on suspicion of disease, not for traces in pasteurized milk

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it has not detected a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in cattle in Canada at this time, and is not currently testing for traces of the virus in raw or pasteurized milk.

“As with many reportable diseases in animals, testing is being recommended based on suspicion of the disease, through for example, the presence of clinical signs,” the CFIA says, in a statement emailed to RealAgriculture.

The CFIA says it is aware of the U.S. findings of inactivated HPAI virus particles in pasteurized milk samples through quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) testing.

“Positive qPCR results do not necessarily indicate that there is active virus in the milk,” the CFIA says, and the risk to consumers remains low.

“HPAI is not a food safety concern, as pasteurization is required for the sale of cow’s milk in Canada. This process kills harmful bacteria and viruses while retaining the nutritional properties of milk, ensuring our milk and milk products are safe to drink,” CFIA says.

The CFIA is working with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and U.S. authorities to monitor this evolving situation, the agency says. CFIA will continue to update its website as new information becomes available: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock.

The U.S. information page on HPAI is available, here.

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