UNDATED - Poultry produced in Minnesota, and other states affected by bird flu, is safe to eat. That's the message from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

University of Minnesota Extension Educator Dan Martens says the flocks are monitored closely.

"Poultry producers would like the general public to know that Avian Influenza is not a food safety concern. And based on current experience and monitoring, it is not, and is not expected to be a human health issue. They really want the general public to know that they can be confident in going to the poultry section at their grocery store."

Martens says it's too soon to tell what impact the outbreak will have on farmers.

"I think a lot of that is really hard to answer, and really remains to be seen as we see how effectively we can put an end to this infection cycle. Chickens and turkeys are a very significant part of our economy in Benton, Stearns and Morrison counties."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in an update last (Wednesday) evening that the farms with newly confirmed H5N2 infections are all in counties where other farms had been affected earlier. They include the 15th detection in Kandiyohi County and the 9th detection in Stearns County, the two top turkey-producing counties in Minnesota, which is the country's top turkey producing state.

The outbreak has cost 44 Minnesota farms nearly 2.6 million turkeys. Those not killed by the disease outright have been euthanized to prevent its spread.