Federal Order Feedback: Ag groups respond to USDA’s plan to stop HPAI in dairy herds

Ag groups are responding to a federal order regarding USDA’s plan to stop the spread of High Path Avian Flu in dairy cattle. The move will also help animal health officials learn more about the virus.

The order goes into effect on Monday, and more guidance is expected to come through later this week. It will require all dairy cattle to be tested for Influenza A before interstate travel. If there is a positive case, it must be reported to USDA and tracing must be done. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will pay for the testing, which must be done at registered facilities.

On the reporting side, labs and state veterinarians must report PCR or genetic sequencing tests to APHIS, and they must also report positive anti-body tests.

Secretary Vilsack says this is all being done to learn more about the virus, but he assures consumers that milk products are safe even after a sample was found with the virus.

“The key here and again, it’s really, really important for people to understand this, that it’s not whether the milk had the virus. It’s the question of whether the virus is live. We know from the testing that’s been done of samples that had that were taken from the affected area, so we knew that there was a pretty significant load of virus tests conducted and the virus didn’t survive the pasteurization.”

The National Milk Producers Federation supports the new order, saying that “Dairy farmers stand ready to take a proactive approach to ensuring that we better understand the spread of the virus, do what we can do to limit that spread, and ensure the health of our animals and workers.”

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