May 25, 2024

Ground Beef Tests Negative For Avian Influenza, Says USDA

Ground beef tests negative for Avian Influenza, the USDA said on May 1, 2024. With the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) affecting not only birds, but cattle in recent weeks, there had been some concern that the virus would be found in ground beef.

Ground Beef Tests Negative For Avian Influenza, Says USDA

The virus has been found intact in raw milk, but only fragments of the pathogen have been discovered in pasteurized milk. The USDA collected samples of ground beef from retail stores in states where dairy cattle herds had tested positive for the virus at the time of sample collection.

The samples were sent to APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratory for PCR testing. All samples had tested negative for H5N1, which reaffirms that the meat supply is safe.

Of course, avoiding raw milk and cooking all ground beef to a safe final internal temperature of 160°F, and testing that temperature with a reliable meat thermometer, is yet another safeguard you can use to protect your health and the health of your family.

The USDA is working on three separate beef safety studies related to the avian influenza virus in meat from infected dairy cattle. The first was the samples of ground beef collected at retail in affected states. No virus particles were found in the meat, in other words, the ground beef tests negative for avian influenza.

The second is beef muscle sampling of culled dairy cows that are condemned at select FSIS-inspected slaughterhouses. The samples will be analyzed by APHIS using PCR to determine the presence of viral particles. The results of this study will be posted as soon as they are available.

And finały, a beef cooking study will be conducted, using a virus surrogate in ground beef. The beef will be cooked to different temperatures to find the log-reduction of the virus. These results will be posted when the study has concluded.

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