April 27, 2009

Department of Agriculture Reassures Missourians that Pork is Safe to Eat

Recent Swine Flu Cases Have Not Affected Pigs

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) wants to reassure Missourians that swine flu cannot be contracted from eating pork or pork products. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swine flu viruses are not transmitted by food.

“Recent headlines have generated a great deal of concern but you cannot get swine flu from eating pork. Pork and pork products remain safe to eat,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of MDA. “Those in the agriculture industry remain concerned about the health and well-being of those affected in other states. Although no cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Missouri, Gov. Nixon and the Department of Health and Senior Services are vigilant and have plans in place to help prevent the spread of this virus.”

According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, influenza is a virus that infects people, birds, pigs and other animals. Swine flu, or swine influenza, is a form of the virus that normally infects pigs. The form of flu that originated in Mexico, and is now affecting people in the U.S., is a genetic mixture of viruses that have been seen in pigs, birds and people. It’s being called a swine flu because the overall structure of the virus is of the type that affects pigs. There is no evidence that swine in Missouri are infected with the virus strain.

For more information on human cases of swine influenza, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at www.dhss.mo.gov or CDC’s Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/?s_cid=swineFlu_outbreak_internal_001. For more information on swine, visit www.usda.gov.