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Pig industry confirms 'Pork is Safe'

“Pork is safe to eat and handle,” the US pork industry continues to assure people in the wake of a report from Canada that pigs in an Alberta pork operation contracted an H1N1 virus.

A worker who recently visited Mexico – and became ill with flu-like symptoms – is suspected of transmitting the virus to a pig.

“People cannot get the flu from eating or handling pork,” said Dr. Jennifer Greiner, director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council. “The flu is a respiratory illness, it's not a food-borne illness.”

According to the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security the H1N1 flu strain that has been contracted by a number of people worldwide cannot be transmitted by eating or handling pork; it does not pose a threat to the safety of food.

Early yesterday, the World Trade Organization, the OIE and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization issued a joint statement saying pork is safe. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement after hearing about the situation in canada, “This is not a food-borne illness. The American food supply is safe and pork and pork products are safe.”

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