CFIA finds no trace of HPAI in retail milk samples to date

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it has completed testing of over 140 retail milk samples from across Canada and has found no remnants of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, as of May 14, 2024.

Testing milk at the retail level is a reversal from an earlier statement less than three weeks ago where CFIA said it was only testing milk from cows under suspicion of the disease.

“With recent news of dairy cattle in the United States (U.S.) testing positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and reports of fragments of HPAI detected in pasteurized milk sold in the U.S., we understand that Canadians may be concerned about the safety of milk and milk products,” says the CFIA in a news release.

As a proactive approach to surveillance, CFIA is coordinating with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to conduct enhanced testing of milk at the retail level to look for viral fragments of HPAI. Through use of a type of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, CFIA will be able to detect HPAI or fragments of the virus, even if the virus is not infectious.

“Negative results mean that HPAI fragments are not present in milk. This supports current reports that the virus has not been detected in Canadian dairy cows,” CFIA says.

Commercially sold milk and milk products remain safe to consume, CFIA says, as milk from dairy cows in Canada must be pasteurized before sale. The pasteurization process kills harmful bacteria and viruses, including HPAI, ensuring milk and milk products are safe to drink and eat.

Related:

What does HPAI look like in dairy cattle? 

 

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