The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent an open letter to state and local officials urging the implementation of measures to stop the sale of raw milk.

“For states that permit the sale of raw milk within their state, use regulatory authorities or implement other measures, as appropriate, to stop the sale of raw milk that may present a risk to consumers. This may include restricting the introduction of raw milk that may contain viable HPAI H5N1, for human or animal consumption, within a defined geographic area, or within your state. If HPAI H5N1 virus is identified within a herd, there is a risk that viable HPAI H5N1 virus could be present in raw milk from the herd, even when clinically ill cows are segregated,” the letter read.

“While the introduction into interstate commerce of raw milk for human consumption is prohibited under the FDA’s authority, we know that a number of states permit the intrastate sale of raw milk for human consumption, with varying structures and requirements to these state programs,” the agency said.

“Because of our concerns related to HPAI H5N1 virus in raw milk, we are providing the following recommendations for states as we continue to work together to address this novel issue,” it continued.

The letter is the latest effort by public health officials in the feverish bird flu fear campaign.

HealthDay reports:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday asked states to work harder to protect the public from the risks of raw milk as a bird flu outbreak continues to spread among dairy cows.

In an open letter to state and local officials, the agency urged more testing of herds that produce raw milk for sale and recommended that states use their regulatory powers to stop the sale of raw milk where dairy herds have tested positive.

On Thursday, Minnesota became the 10th state to report an infected herd. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 82 U.S. herds have now tested positive for the H5N1 avian virus.

“Only a total of 29 states allow for the sale of raw milk. Their focus is not on the retail level but only allow on farm sale,” RFD-TV stated.

The agency also urged state and local officials to implement a surveillance testing program in dairy herds.

“Implement a surveillance testing program in your state to identify the presence of HPAI H5N1 virus in dairy herds that might be engaged in producing raw milk for intrastate sale. For states that implement such a surveillance testing program, sharing data and testing results with their dairy regulatory partners (state, FDA, and USDA) will allow for coordinated management of this novel virus. Upon request, FDA will provide technical assistance and methodologies for sampling or testing,” the letter read.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) previously introduced legislation to prohibit the federal government from interfering with the “interstate traffic of raw milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.”

“I just reintroduced the Interstate Milk Freedom Act, HR 8374. This bill prevents the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal,” Massie said last month.

Read the full letter below:

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