FEDERATION: PORK PRODUCTS STILL SAFE TO EAT
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Pork products are safe to eat, and Alabama's hog industry is healthy, said the Alabama Farmers Federation today following the diagnosis of swine influenza in the United States and Mexico.
"Swine flu is not transmitted by food, and the subtype affecting humans in Mexico and the United States has not been found in pigs and hogs," said Alabama Farmers Federation Pork Director Guy Hall. "Families can have confidence that the pork they purchase is safe to eat, and there is no reason to be concerned if you live or work near a pork production facility."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, H1NI subtype of swine flu being diagnosed in humans is "very different from that found in pigs." In fact, the World Organization for Animal Health has suggested the disease would be more aptly named "North American Influenza" because it is spread through human-to-human contact.
While this particular flu strain has not been found in hogs and pigs, Hall emphasized that Alabama pork producers have procedures in place to prevent and treat animal diseases.
"Alabama pork producers take biosecurity very seriously," Hall said. "Access to hog operations is limited to reduce the possibility of disease spreading from one farm to another. In addition, Alabama has one of the best laboratory networks in the country for the diagnosis of animal diseases. Today's pork producers also regularly consult with veterinarians, and they have comprehensive vaccination programs to prevent disease outbreaks."
While pork products are safe to eat and prepare, Hall said consumers should follow safe handling and cooking guidelines when serving any meat. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills all viruses and other food-borne pathogens.