Pork still safe to eat amid new hybrid virus concerns - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Pork still safe to eat amid new hybrid virus concerns

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CLIVE, Iowa (Press Release) - Amid public concern about the reports of swine influenza in humans, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board wish to reassure the public that pork is safe and will continue to be safe to consume.

"Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in a statement posted to its web site. "You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe."

The CDC and other health organizations continue to caution that the virus is contagious and is spreading from humans to humans. The CDC has said it has not found any evidence to indicate that any of the illnesses resulted from contact with pigs. The swine influenza subtype isolated from these cases is unique and not previously recognized in either pigs or people.

According to the CDC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

  • People cannot get the hybrid influenza from eating pork or pork products. Most influenza viruses, including the swine flu virus, are not spread by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
  • There are no food safety issues related to the hybrid flu that has been identified, according to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
  • Preliminary investigations have determined that none of the people infected with the hybrid flu had contact with hogs.
  • "This virus is different, very different from that found in pigs."
  • The hybrid virus never has been identified in hogs in the United States or anywhere in the world.
  • The hybrid virus is contagious and is spreading by human-to-human transmission.

Nonetheless, IPPA and the national pork organizations are encouraging Iowa and U.S. pork producers to maintain strict biosecurity procedures to protect their pigs from this virus, including restricting public access to barns on their farms.

"We share the concern of the global health community regarding the spread of this disease," said Steve Weaver, a California pork producer and president of the National Pork Board. "To ensure the good health of our animals and for all those who provide care for the animals, we are urging pork producers to be vigilant in taking measures to prevent the spread of this disease."

The National Pork Board also has offered its extensive resources about swine to assist public health officials as they address treatment and prevention strategies.

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