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Cows, dairy, farms

USDA, FDA and HHS Announce Funding to Fight Avian Flu in Dairy Products

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Cows, dairy, farms

U.S. regulatory agencies are working together to control and mitigate the risks of H5N1 in the dairy industry. The USDA announced assistance for producers with H5N1-affected premises to improve on-site biosecurity in order to reduce the spread. In addition, USDA is taking steps to make available financial tools for lost milk production in herds affected by H5N1. Funding is available to:

Protect against the potential for spread between human and animals. The USDA will provide financial support (up to $2,000 per affected premises per month) for producers who supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees and/or provide outerwear uniform laundering, for producers of affected herds who facilitate the participation of their workers in USDA/CDC workplace and farmworker study.

Workers who participate in the study are also eligible for financial incentives to compensate them for their time, regardless of whether the study is led by federal, state, or local public health professionals.

Support producers in biosecurity planning and implementation. The USDA will provide support (up to $1,500 per affected premises) to develop biosecurity plans based on existing secure milk supply plans. This includes recommended enhanced biosecurity for individuals that frequently move between dairy farms (milk haulers, veterinarians, feed trucks, AI technicians, etc). In addition, USDA will provide a $100 payment to producers who purchase and use an in-line sampler for their milk system.

Provide funding for heat treatment to dispose of milk in a bio secure fashion. If a producer establishes a system to heat treat all waste milk before disposal, USDA will pay the producer up to $2,000 per affected premises per month.

Reimburse producers for veterinarian costs associated with confirmed positive H5N1 premises. Veterinary costs are eligible to be covered from the initial date of positive confirmation at NVSL for that farm, up to $10,000 per affected premises.

Offset shipping costs for influenza A testing at laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). USDA will pay for the cost of shipping samples to NAHLN labs for testing. USDA will pay actual shipping costs, not to exceed $50 per shipment for up to two shipments per month for each affected premises. Testing at NAHLN laboratories for samples associated with this event (e.g., pre-movement, testing of sick/suspect animals, samples from concerned producers) is already being conducted at no-cost to the producer.

Compensate producers for loss of milk production. USDA is taking steps to make funding available from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to compensate eligible producers with positive herds who experience loss of milk production.

Work with states to limit movement of lactating cattle. USDA will work with and support the actions of states with affected herds as they consider movement restrictions within their borders to further limit the spread of H5N1 between herds to reduce further spread of this virus.

USDA will make $98 million in existing funds available to the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to fund these initiatives. If needed, USDA has the authority, with Congressional notification, to make additional funds available.


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also announced new funding investments through CDC and FDA totaling $101 million to mitigate the risk of H5N1 and continue its work to test, prevent, and treat H5N1. This includes an additional $93 million to support current response efforts for avian influenza.

These investments will allow CDC to bolster testing and laboratory capacity, surveillance, genomic sequencing, support jurisdictions and partner efforts to reach high risk populations and initiate a new wastewater surveillance pilot. The funding includes:

  • $34 million in Testing and Laboratory Capacity to:
    • Develop and optimize assays that can be used to sequence virus independent of virus identification.
    • Assess circulating H5N1 viruses for any concerning viral changes, including increased transmissibility or severity in humans or decreasing efficacy of diagnostics or antivirals.
    • Support the ability of STLT Public Health Labs throughout the country to surge their testing abilities, including support for the additional costs of shipping human avian influenza specimens, which are select agents.
    • Through the International Reagent Resource (IRR), support manufacture, storage, and distribution of roughly one thousand additional influenza diagnostic test kits (equaling nearly around one million additional tests) for virologic surveillance. The IRR would also provide influenza reagents for research and development activities on a global scale. This is in addition to current influenza testing capacity at CDC and in STLT public health and DOD labs, which is approximately 490,000 H5-specific tests.
    • Address the manufacturer issue detected with current avian flu test kits.
    • Initiate avian flu testing in one commercial laboratory.
  • $29 million in Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Data Analytics to:
    • Scale up existing efforts to monitor people who are exposed to infected birds and poultry to accommodate workers at likely many more poultry facilities, as well as potentially workers at other agricultural facilities and other people (e.g., hunters) who may be exposed to species that pose a threat.
    • Scale up contact tracing efforts and data reporting to accommodate monitoring of contacts of additional sporadic cases.
    • Support the collection and characterization of additional clinical specimens through established surveillance systems from regions with large numbers of exposed persons to enhance the ability to detect any unrecognized cases in the community if they occur.
    • Expand respiratory virus surveillance to capture more samples from persons with acute respiratory illness in different care settings.
    • Support continuation and possible expansion of existing respiratory surveillance platforms and vaccine effectiveness platforms.
  • $14 million in Genomic Sequencing to:
    • Provide bioinformatics and data analytics support for genomic sequencing at CDC that supports surveillance needs for enhanced monitoring.
    • Expand sequencing capacity for HPAI in state-level National Influenza Reference Centers (NIRCs), Influenza Sequencing Center (ISC), and Pathogen Genomic Centers of Excellence.
  • $8 million in Vaccine Activities to analyze circulating H5N1 viruses to determine whether current Candidate Vaccine Viruses (CVVs) would be effective and develop new ones if necessary.
  • $5 million in STLT Jurisdiction/Partner Funding to:support partner efforts to reach high-risk populations.
  • $3 million in Wastewater Surveillance to initiate wastewater pilot to evaluate the use case for HPAI in up to 10 livestock and implement a study to evaluate the use of Influenza A sequencing in wastewater samples for highly pathogenic avian influenza typing.

Additionally, the FDA announced an additional $8 million to support its ongoing response activities. This funding will support the agency’s ability to validate pasteurization criteria, conduct surveillance at different points in the milk production system, bolster laboratory capacity and provide needed resources to train staff on biosecurity procedures. Additionally, these funds will help support H5N1 activities in partnership with state co-regulatory partners, who administer state programs as part of the federal/state milk safety system. It may also be used to allow the FDA to partner with universities on critical research questions.