USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported on Monday about a worsening Avian influenza crisis in the United States.   APHIS reports that more than 22.8 million birds have had to be put to death in the past two months because of the influenza Type A virus (influenza A).

The disease is reported in 118 flocks, including 46 backyards and 72 commercial flocks in 24 states. To view a list of birds identified by date and state, click here.

Click on map to enlarge. Use link above to go to page with list of
Continue Reading Avian flu outbreaks in U.S. take more than 22.8 million birds in 24 states, so far

The first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States since 2017 does not threaten human health, according to experts.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of the H7N3 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, SC. APHIS said the HPAI strain appears to have mutated from a low pathogenic type found in the area recently to the more concerning highly pathogenic status.

China, Canada and Mexico responded to the finding by banning poultry slaughtered and processed in Chesterfield County and South Carolina.

The United States
Continue Reading Highly pathogenic avian flu in SC turkey flock is no threat to human health

(This post by Hannah Bolinger, a graduate student in NC State’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, is the third in a series leading up to April 7, when the World Health Organization will celebrate World Health Day, which is focused this year on food safety. The first post in the series can be found here and the second one is here.) Campylobacter are spiral-shaped bacteria that often colonize the intestines of animals grown for food (as well as other animals) — and they can cause acute diarrheal disease (called campylobacteriosis) in humans. These bacteria, especially the species
Continue Reading Campylobacter: What is It and What Are We Doing About It?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that it has received a letter of commitment from Zoetis Animal Health that, by this coming fall, the company will suspend the sale of Histostat (nitarsone) and formally request that FDA withdraw approval for the drug by the end of the year. UK_Turkeys_406x250Nitarsone is the only arsenic-based animal drug that is currently approved for use in food animals. Nitarsone is approved for the prevention of blackhead disease (histomoniasis) in turkeys and chickens, but it is predominantly used in turkeys. The Center for Food Safety said Wednesday that it applauded FDA’s move.
Continue Reading FDA to Withdraw Approval for Arsenic-Based Drug Used in Poultry

A strain of avian flu has been found at a Foster Farms turkey ranch in Stanislaus County, CA, the company announced this past Saturday. It’s the first time the virus has been found in commercial poultry since 2004. According to USDA policy, the ranch was quarantined and the animals are being killed to prevent the virus from spreading to other commercial and migratory flocks. The Modesto Bee reports that federal agriculture officials said the strain is H5N8, which is not known to harm humans. Foster Farms said that the discovery was due to its “ongoing early detection program for
Continue Reading Avian Flu Detected in Foster Farms Turkey Flock

Public health advocates are calling on consumers to go antibiotic-free with their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Earlier this week, the Pew Charitable Trusts posted its three reasons to buy a Thanksgiving turkey raised without antibiotics — the main one being that consumers can influence food producers to curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock raised for food by “voting with their wallets.” The concern is not with antibiotic residue — something for which the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects — but that overuse of antibiotics on farms contributes to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bugs, foodborne and otherwise. This is not the
Continue Reading Consumers Urged to Go Antibiotic-Free With Their Thanksgiving Turkey

On Thursday, millions of Americans will sit down with family and friends, likely over a large turkey, for the most practiced meal of the year. Our familiarity with it, and the way we pass down the instructions for its preparation, is perhaps what gives the day its generally good food safety record. The biggest food safety hurdle for this gathering is passed by following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) advice: get a fresh turkey into the oven within two days and to keep it there for five and one-half hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for the typical 20 to
Continue Reading Letter From the Editor: Happy Thanksgiving!

Cargill announced this week that it will stop using antibiotics for growth promotion in raising its turkeys. The company says the changes to its two signature brands — Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms — makes Cargill the first major turkey producer to have a USDA Process Verified Program for this purpose. A Cargill press release stated that the move is “based on consumer research and feedback.” However, Steven Roach, a senior analyst with Keep Antibiotics Working, said that while it’s encouraging that the company is recognizing what its consumers want, the move is not enough to address the rise
Continue Reading Cargill to Phase Out Growth-Promoting Antibiotics in Signature Turkey Brands