FDA Reaffirms that Pasteurization is Effective against HPAI, Commercial Milk Supply Safe

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed again today that pasteurization of milk consistent with the federal Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) destroys harmful pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and other viruses. The data cited by FDA is consistent with many other studies demonstrating that the legally required temperature and time for milk pasteurization will readily inactivate HPAI. Viral fragments detected after pasteurization are nothing more than evidence that the virus is dead; they have zero impact on human health. Further, the federal PMO prohibits milk from sick cows from entering the food supply chain. Milk and milk products produced and processed in the United States are among the safest in the world.

The FDA has remained consistent in its vigilance against raw milk consumption, as well. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella, among others. As this situation continues to evolve, our dairy organizations strongly discourage the consumption of raw milk and recommend that all raw milk and raw milk components be heat treated to a temperature and duration that kills harmful pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms, including HPAI, regardless of the product’s intended use for human or animal consumption. FDA also recommends out of an abundance of caution that milk from cows in an affected herd not be used to produce raw milk cheeses.

We encourage the FDA to continue to gather scientific data and information, consistent with its plans.