Health authorities will analyze beef samples in states where there have been bird flu outbreaks

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported this Monday that it will analyze beef samples to determine if they are contaminated with the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has spread among dairy cattle.

According to the agency, three studies are being carried out on the safety of beef, including meat intended for sale in supermarkets.

Agency investigators are taking samples of meat purchased from food stores in the United States. nine states where the outbreak has been discovered – including Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Texas – where the presence of the H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected.

The headquarters of the Department of Agriculture in Washington DC, on February 9, 2024.

Muscle tissue samples have also reportedly been taken from cows that became infected with the virus and were slaughtered.

The agency said the studies also include cooking beef inoculated with a “virus substitute” at different temperatures to determine at what temperature the virus disappears.

Avian influenza is highly pathogenic and can be transmitted by wild birds to domestic poultry and other species of birds and animals, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although heAvian flu is not usually transmitted to humanssporadic infections have occurred in people.

The Department of Agriculture's decision comes after Colombia imposed restrictions on meat and beef products imported from the United States.

The United States is the largest supplier of beef to Colombia, with exports amounting to $40 million in 2023, according to the US Beef Export Foundation.

“The USDA is confident that the meat supply is safe. “The USDA has a rigorous meat inspection process (and) multiple safeguards to protect consumers,” the agency said in its statement this Monday.

The USDA recommended to consumers cook meats to a safe internal temperature to kill possible bacteria and viruses.

The agency said officials from the Food Safety and Inspection Service have been at all federal livestock slaughter facilities to inspect each animal before and after it is slaughtered, with the goal of determining whether it is safe for human consumption.

Last week the FDA concluded that the milk supply was safe, even though 20% of samples of milk sold in stores tested positive for bird flu fragments.

The FDA and USDA said pasteurization and the elimination of milk from sick cows has kept the U.S. milk supply safe.

With information from cnn and Spectrum News