As I was driving to the Twin Cities this weekend to attend the Minnesota Beef Expo, the radio was nonstop news about a show pig that was infected with the H1N1 virus. Cheers to the one radio station that reminded consumers that 1) H1N1 has been incorrectly named the swine flu, even though it's a virus that originates from people, birds and pigs, and 2) You can not get H1N1 from eating pork. However, every other report I heard on the radio or the news referred to it as both H1N1 and the swine flu. I don't care if it's easier to say, continuing to repeat the incorrect name because it's convenient is absolutely destructive to the animal agriculture industry. My support goes out to America's pork producers, and I have gathered some important reference materials for all of you to read and pass on in your email lists. For the last time, media, it's H1N1, not swine flu. Thank you.
News about recent H1N1 flu virus in Minnesota pigs...
USDA Confirms H1N1 Flu Virus in Minn. Hog, by Ag Web
USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair submitted by the University of Minnesota. Additional samples are being tested. "We have fully engaged our trading partners to remind them that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products," said USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack in announcing the positive sample. "People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products. Pork is safe to eat."
Virus Confirmed In Minnesota Pig, by NPR
It's now official: at least one pig in Minnesota has been confirmed to have had the swine flu virus, according to the Agriculture Department Monday. A sample from a pig which was at the Minnesota State Fair has tested positive for the H1N1 virus infection by scientists using the most accurate methods available. The Agriculture Department was quick to point out, however, that the presence of the virus in a show pig doesn't mean commercial herds are infected since show animals don't mix with their commercial cousins.
H1N1 Flu Virus Quick Facts, by National Hog Farmer
The swine flu outbreak is an inappropraite name because hogs are not the source. An outbreak of a hybrid form of swine influenza has not affected the safety of pork, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. President Barack Obama says that the threat of swine flu spreading is a cause for concern but “not a cause for alarm” as the United States works to closely monitor borders to contain it.
BEEF Daily Quick Fact: Pork is safe to eat; to enjoy pork recipes, link to The Other White Meat.