You won't get swine flu from eating pork

Influenza information and how to continue to cook and prepare pork meals safely.

With the confirmed cases of swine influenza (previously referred to as swine flu) in Michigan in 2016 and Ohio in 2017, many people are curious about the virus. Pigs can be infected with their own influenza virus that is different from human flu viruses. While rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people. However, it is important to know that you cannot get Influenza A from eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.  

People get Influenza A directly from pigs, Michigan State University Extension recommends reading this article to learn more about people with high-risk factors for contracting Influenza A.

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking pork roasts, steaks and chops to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in pork that is both safe and at its best quality – juicy and tender. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. Understand, however, that 145 degrees F kills the Influenza A virus just as it does other bacteria and viruses.

When it comes to ground pork patties and ground pork mixtures, such as meat loaf, the USDA recommends cooking to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook all organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver, tongue and chitterlings) also to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

All types of flu have similar symptoms, and the Influenza A is no different. Symptoms of flu include:

  • A fever of 100 degrees F, or higher; or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or  a sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

People can make animals sick too, so it is important to remember to wash your hands before and after petting or handling animals, for your sake and theirs. 

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