The Kansas Department of Agriculture and Dairy Industry Unite Against HPAI: FDA Confirms Safety of Milk Supply, New Measures Implemented

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) has been collaborating with the local dairy sector to address the national concerns triggered by the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in dairy cows. The KDA has been monitoring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s examination of the commercial milk supply. The effectiveness of the pasteurization process was affirmed by the FDA on Friday.

The KDA’s Animal Health Division is aiding dairies and veterinarians to adhere to the Federal Order from USDA-APHIS, effective from Monday, April 29, 2024. This mandates a negative virus test for dairy cattle before interstate transit and requires labs and state veterinarians to report positive results. These steps aim to protect the U.S. livestock sector from HPAI. This Federal Order followed a state order by Kansas Animal Health Commissioner, Dr. Justin Smith, broadening the movement requirements of dairy cattle.

In March HPAI was found in two commercial dairy herds, and by early April two additional herds were reported positive in Kansas. The data suggests that the virus typically clears within 21-30 days, which has already passed for the affected Kansas herds.

Kansas farmers and ranchers are urged to implement good biosecurity measures to shield their animals from HPAI exposure. This includes restricting vehicle and visitor movement, separating domestic and wild animals, reducing cattle movement, and monitoring for HPAI symptoms. The FDA reasserted the safety of the commercial milk supply, confirming pasteurization’s effectiveness in neutralizing HPAI. The CDC advises against consuming unpasteurized or raw milk, and dairies must ensure only milk from healthy animals enters the supply chain.

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