Bird flu detected in tissue samples of US dairy cow sent to slaughter, USDA says

By Thomson Reuters May 24, 2024 | 1:21 PM

(Reuters) – Bird flu virus particles were found in tissue samples taken from one dairy cow sent to slaughter at a U.S. meat processing plant, but none were detected in samples from 95 other cattle, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Friday.

Meat from the animals was prevented from entering the nation’s food supply, USDA said.

Agriculture and health officials have scaled up testing of meat and dairy products and livestock, as an outbreak of bird flu has expanded in dairy cattle.

Two U.S. dairy workers have tested positive for bird flu since the virus was first detected in cattle in late March.

To date, testing on beef tissue has been completed on 96 of 109 muscle samples that were collected as part of a meat safety study, USDA said on Friday. It plans to report further updates as testing is completed.

The agency’s personnel identified signs of illness in the positive animal during the post-mortem inspection and prevented the meat from entering the food supply, according to USDA.

“These actions provide further confidence that the food safety system we have in place is working,” the agency said in a statement.

The department had confirmed bird flu infections in 58 dairy herds across nine states.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Bill Berkrot)