US Government Testing Ground Beef for Bird Flu

    US Government Testing Ground Beef for Bird Flu
    Image copyright: Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday said it would begin testing ground beef samples from grocery stores in states where the H5N1 bird flu has been found in dairy cows.

    • The USDA also said it would begin testing cooking infected ground beef from nine impacted states at different temperatures to determine if it's safe to eat.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The experts are on top of this, and the testing of the ground beef is just the next step in making sure H5N1 isn't a greater risk to humans. People can take solace in that the disease is highly contagious among birds — but not humans — and that it's highly unlikely anyone will contract the virus from eating beef or poultry. Overly concerned people can take steps to stay away from infected animals and make sure they cook their meats properly.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    More needs to be done to make sure farm workers aren't contracting H5N1. There's anecdotal evidence of humans coming down with flu-like symptoms at the same time the animals they were working with had the virus — but the humans weren't tested. Farm workers may be worried about a threat to their livelihood, but for the good of society they must be vigilant about reporting symptoms and the government must keep a closer eye on them.

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