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Is Swine Flu Spread Through Pork?


Updated February 05, 2014

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the H1N1 virus is not spread by eating pork or foods containing pork.

The Novel H1N1 virus is sometimes called swine flu because many of the genes in this new virus are similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs. But it turns out this new virus is different from the influenza that is found in pigs. True swine flu can occasionally transmit to humans, but that involves regular, close contact with live flu-infected and ill pigs; those typically in this position are pig handlers and barn keepers.

You needn't stay away from your favorite pork options. Actually, lean pork is a good source of protein, zinc and selenium, all of which are necessary for a normal immune system.

As was the case before swine flu -- and remains now -- it is always important to follow food safety when you handle raw meat, to avoid any bacteria or viruses that may be present in raw meat. Cook all pork products to an internal temperature of 160 degrees; use a meat thermometer to be sure, and do not allow raw meat to cross-contaminate foods that are ready to be served.

Choose lean cuts of fresh pork such as pork chops, steaks and roasts, instead of pork sausage, bacon, other processed pork products that are high in fat and sodium.


Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 1, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/key_facts.htm

Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 1, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm


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