Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream Safe to Eat Amid Bird Flu Outbreak, FDA Says

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated this Wednesday that dairy products, such as cottage cheese and sour cream (sour cream), are safe for consumption amid the outbreak of the bird flu virus in dairy cows.

The agency has been testing 297 pasteurized dairy products sold at retail after it was discovered last week that fragments of the virus had entered the commercial milk supply.

The tests showed that the products They did not contain live viruses that could make people sick.the FDA reported Wednesday.

The new results, although still preliminary, “reaffirm the safety of the commercial milk supply in the United States,” Don Prater, acting director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during a briefing. The samples come from 38 states.

Additionally, the FDA has tested powdered formulas for infants and toddlers and found no evidence of the bird flu virus. It was not clear how many formula milk samples were analyzed.

Prater stated that the latest results confirm that the pasteurization process inactivates the virus, so it cannot infect people. The FDA is also testing raw milk for the live virus, although it warned against consuming unpasteurized raw milk.

bird flu has already been detected in 36 dairy herds in nine states: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Ohio and Texas.

All cases appear to have originated in Texas herds and spread across state lines.

In affected herds, about 10% of cows are showing symptoms, Dr. Rosemary Sifford, chief veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said during the call. Most of those cattle will recover on their own in about two weeks, she added.

Sifford said it appears the virus spreads among cows through contaminated raw milk with high levels of the virus.

There is no evidence yet that this strain of bird flu, called H5N1, spreads easily between people. But the concern is that the longer the virus spends in mammals, it could mutate into a form that does.

For now, according to Sifford, that doesn't seem to be happening.

“We are not seeing any changes in the virus that would indicate that it is able to spread more easily between people,” Sifford confirmed.

The risk to the general public remains low, said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

A dairy industry worker in Texas was diagnosed with the virus since the outbreak was detected in dairy cows. This person's case was mild and the only symptom was conjunctivitis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this Wednesday that More than 100 people have been asked to monitor their symptoms for 10 daysafter having been in contact with an infected animal.

Around 25 have been tested for the virus, Daskalakis said.

He said there is no indication of “unusual flu activity in people, and that includes bird flu.”

But there have been reports that other cases may have gone undetected.

Several Texas dairy workers fell ill with fever, body aches, stomach upset and eye infections at the same time that bird flu was making its way among cows in Amarillo, veterinarian Dr. Barb Petersen previously told NBC News. who discovered what was making the animals sick.

They have not registered hospitalizations or deaths.