HomeFood & BeverageBird flu: is milk a safe food?

Bird flu: is milk a safe food?

thatbird flue you risk being the next big pandemic, many said. Often, unfortunately, unheard or at least underestimated. A sign that Covid has taught us too little once the emergency is over. Yet this seemed in many ways to be a warning, largely thrown to the wind, if it is true that today we risk even more with the avian epidemic that is circling the world at incredible speedand which runs the risk sooner or later of making the leap to species, ending up infecting humans with a virus which, in highly pathogenic forms, causes a sudden onset of disease, «followed by quick death in almost 100% of cases,” says the Istituto Superiore della Sanità. Hence even worse than Covid.

Will bird flu become a pandemic?

There are many scientists who believe there is a high risk of bird flu becoming a problem for humans. “According to epidemiologists, there are a number of elements that make it so H5N1 is the favorite candidate for the next pandemic”we read on the website ofHigher Institute of Health Care. The problem, as it was with Covid, is the spikes in species. It is true that here and there around the world some human beings have contracted bird flu (and even died), but the cases recorded so far are cases of direct transmission from infected poultry to humans.

“Of the 15 subtypes of avian viruses, H5N1, circulating since 1997, has been identified as the most alarming because of its ability to mutate rapidly and acquire genes from viruses that infect other animal species,” wrote the Istituto Superiore della Sanità. «Since early 2003, H5N1 has made a series of species jumps, gaining the ability to infect cats and mice as well, thus becoming a much more worrisome public health problem. The ability of the virus to infect pigs has long been known, and therefore promiscuity between humans, pigs and poultry is known to be a high-risk factor.”

Therefore, they appear to be primarily a high-risk factor intensive agriculture (as Julia Inocenzi also rightly pointed out): that’s where the new epidemic could break out, especially after that Bird flu was first detected in American milk in March of this yeara sign that it also infected cattle.

Is the milk we drink safe from bird flu?

Older cows have been found from Texas and New Mexico positive for H5N1 strain, and so it turned out to be their milk. The situation, strangely, has not panicked the population, neither American nor European, although globalization with Covid has already had the opportunity to show the speed with which everything moves. However, the situation seems incredibly underreported: the milk of sick animals is destroyed, but how many of the cases are still undiagnosed? In May, the USDA reported cases at forty-two different cattle farms in nine states. But when the Food and Drug Administration sampled commercial milk, it found this one in five samples contained genetic material from the H5N1 virus. Which in all likelihood means that the virus is much more prevalent and that many cows may be asymptomatic.

From the beginning, US health officials wanted to emphasize that the country’s commercial milk supply was safe and that the risk to humans remained low. Based on what they said after the discovery, it honestly remains to be seen.

And today, however The World Health Organization assesses the public health risk of H5N1 avian influenza as lowbut advising the population not to drink raw milk, but only pasteurized, given this pasteurization (ie heating milk to 72 degrees for at least fifteen seconds) has been shown to be effective in inactivating the virus of bird flu H5N1. The viral material found in commercial milk has not actually been shown to be infectious.

Raw milk – that which has not undergone any heat treatment and is sold freshly milked – is instead a potential risk factor, in America certainly, but in all likelihood in Europe as well, given the speed with which avian influenza is spreading. flu.

Future developments remain to be seen, but what is certain is this It is worth thinking about: on nutrition, but also on the type of industry we nurture with our consumers’ choices.

Source: VanityFair

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