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Biden administration taking cross-species HPAI outbreak “very seriously”

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Biden administration is taking the cross-species outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza very seriously.

“The Center for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the White House, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, are all engaged and involved in making sure that we’re taking the steps necessary to continue to assure people that food they consume and milk they drink is safe.”

Avian flu has been detected on dairy farms and poultry sites in multiple states in recent days, along with a human case in Texas.

Vilsack tells Brownfield it’s a difficult circumstance because the virus is spread by migrating birds.

“There’s research that’s underway with vaccines, not an easy thing from a science perspective. But we’re working on that and investing in it. So people need to know we’re working on it, we take it seriously, there’s low risk to people, the milk is safe, and fortunately the cows recover.”

He says the recovery takes up to a week and-a-half and the dairy cows are just as productive as before contracting avian flu.

Safety measures are in place that prevent food and milk from sick animals from entering the food supply chain. According to the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is no concern for food safety and the public health risk remains low.

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