Market News & Headlines >> USDA to Test Beef for Bird Flu in Some States

USDA said on Monday that it had started testing beef for the presence of the avian influenza virus in states where the virus has been detected in dairy cows.

Samples of ground beef are being collected at retail stores in nine states where the H5N1 flu virus has been identified. Those states include Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Kansas, Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina, South Dakota and Colorado. USDA is also collecting beef muscle samples at government-approved slaughter facilities from dairy cows that have been condemned. 

USDA will analyze beef samples with PCR tests that indicate "whether any viral particles are present," and conduct two other safety studies, according to a statement.

In addition, the agency is cooking beef samples containing a "virus surrogate" at different temperatures in order to determine how it inactivates the virus.

Last week, USDA said it had found bird flu in a lung tissue sample from an asymptomatic dairy cow that was sent to slaughter from an infected herd. The animal did not enter the food supply, according to the department.