California agriculture officials on high alert to prevent avian flu outbreak from reaching cattle

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s border inspection stations are on high alert to protect California farms.

DAVIS, Calif. — Farmers across the country are concerned about an outbreak of avian influenza that has jumped species from birds to cows. 

The outbreak hasn’t spread to California herds, but officials are monitoring the situation closely. 

Dr. Mike Payne at the UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security said it’s the first time in history that avian influenza has ever been detected in cows. 

Bird flu generally isn’t fatal for cows, but it does cause a sharp drop in milk production. 

“(It) can be economically devastating to dairy farmers,” Payne said. 

That’s why the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s border inspection stations are on high alert to protect California farms. 

Meanwhile, a man in Texas tested positive for bird flu this month. It’s what is believed to be the first cattle-to-human transmission. 

Payne says that’s very rare and usually not serious. 

“There is, however, always the risk that avian influenza could mutate and become more transmissible to people,” Payne said, adding that’s why every case of avian influenza in animals or birds is followed so very closely by USDA and by the state departments of agriculture.

As far as the eggs and milk people consume, Payne said animal product from infected farms is diverted and destroyed and does not enter the human food chain. 

An additional critical safety factor is that avian influenza is particularly sensitve to temperature. That’s why the USDA, the FDA, and the CDC are unanimous in concluding, Payne said, that properly cooked eggs or chickens, or pasteurized milk, remain completely safe to consume.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.