Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu / Influenza A(H1N1) - Pork is Safe, the Pigs Aren't

Pigs on a farm in Alberta, Canada, have influenza A(H1N1). Odds are, they caught it from the farmer, who had been in Mexico recently. (CNN)

Apparently, though, Canadian authorities have quarantined the pigs - not started slaughtering a significant source of revenue, like Egypt did. (May 1, 2009, post)

Looks like this influenza A(H1N1) could be called "human flu" from the pigs' point of view - since in this instance the odds are that the pigs caught it from a human.

Pork is Safe, Pigs Not So Much - WHO

I'll admit to a bias: I like pork, and I live in central Minnesota, where pork production is a significant part of the regional economy.

For that matter, this household gets a whiff of the manure pits if the wind's from the right direction when they're being turned.

My guess is that the people running WHO and a few other organizations don't live in quite so bucolic a setting: and they say that pork is okay to eat.

"Joint FAO/WHO/OIE/WTO Statement on influenza A(H1N1) and the safety of pork"

"In light of the spread of influenza A(H1N1), and the rising concerns about the possibility of this virus being found in pigs and the safety of pork and pork products, we stress that pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection.

"To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food...."

They do point out that it's important for vets and doctors to cooperate, since pigs can catch influenza A(H1H1) from people and vice versa.

Pork, however, is safe to eat - providing that common-sense cleanliness standards are kept. And that's an alphabet soup bowl-full of international agencies' considered opinion.

More: List of posts relating to Swine flu 2009; and list of background resources:

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