Pasteurization of dairy products inactivates COVID-19, so there is no danger than consumers can contract the disease while consuming dairy products, says Jamie Jonker, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) vice president of Sustainability and Scientific Affairs.
“All pasteurized dairy products, whether it is milk in the jug, cheese in the cheese case, butter or ice cream, are safe to eat,” says Jonker. “But for health reasons unrelated to COVID-19 virus, a person should never drink raw milk.”
Jonker explains that the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the pasteurization process, whether it is at high temperature for a short time or a slightly lower temperature for a longer period, inactivates the COVID-19 virus.
Cattle are also not contracting COVID-19 or spreading it. Jonker notes there is a corona virus that cattle are susceptible to, bovine coronavirus, which has been known about since 1973. A vaccine has been developed to control that disease and is being used by dairy farmers when necessary.
Jonker adds that dairy farms are following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to keep their families and employees safe. NMPF is recommending that all tours of dairy farms cease until CDC determines all human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 has been abated.
On-farm retail stores selling dairy products should also follow CDC and state health department guidelines, he says.