UPDATE BY SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE VILSACK REGARDING USDA OUTREACH EFFORTS REGARDING H1N1 FLU
April 27, 2009
"As promised, I wanted to keep you up to date on our outreach efforts.
First, let me say again to consumers, there is no evidence at this time that U.S. swine have been infected with this virus.
Second, I want to reiterate the same message to our trading partners - our pork and pork products are safe. The discovery of this virus in humans is not a basis for restricting imports of commercially produced U.S. pork and pork products. Any trade restrictions would be inconsistent with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. USDA is working closely with the U.S. Trade Representative's office on these issues.
And third, I am reminding the pork industry as well as owners of pigs about being consistent and thorough in their practices to prevent the introduction or spread of disease.
USDA already has in place, and did so before the last week's events, a surveillance system to monitor animal health. I asked USDA to reach out to agriculture officials in every state to affirm that they have no signs of this virus type in their state's swine herd. As of this morning, no cases have been reported.
It is important to remember that not only have there been no reports of this virus in swine, according to scientists at USDA, H1N1 flu viruses are not transmitted by food so a person cannot get H1N1 flu from eating pork or pork products. In fact, cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills all viruses and other foodborne pathogens. Eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products is safe.
USDA will continue to work with other government agencies to monitor the situation and keep the public informed."