Source: Reuters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow bulk milk testing for bird flu from dairy herds, instead of individual cow tests, to facilitate interstate shipping and expand testing. This change aims to balance controlling the disease and minimizing the economic impact after bird flu spread to cows and dairy workers. Bulk testing, beginning June 3, is expected to ease pre-movement testing burdens while maintaining disease control. Farms testing negative for three consecutive weeks using bulk samples can move cattle without additional testing.

The program, which could help reduce the bird flu threat and protect the milk supply, will require ongoing weekly bulk tank tests to maintain herd status. Some veterinarians warn that bulk testing may not fully detect the disease due to sample dilution. The program is voluntary, and USDA is working with states to implement it, with some state officials expressing concerns about its impact and operation.

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