You can’t get swine flu eating pork

Linda Benedict, Reames, Elizabeth S.  |  4/28/2009 12:46:11 AM

News Release Distributed 04/27/09

You can’t get swine flu from eating pork or pork products, says an LSU AgCenter extension nutritionist.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that a person can get swine flu from touching raw pork or from eating pork that has been properly prepared, says Beth Reames.

“Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe,” Reames said. “Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. And you must make sure you don’t cross-contaminate raw and cooked pork as you prepare it.”

If you sliced raw pork on a cutting board, then make sure you don’t place cooked pork, or any other food for that matter, on the same surface before that surface has been thoroughly cleaned.

Here are some food safety tips:

– Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw pork.

– Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw pork away from other foods.

– After cutting raw meat, wash cutting board, knife and countertops with hot, soapy water.

– Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.

– Use a food thermometer to ensure pork has reached the safe internal temperature of at least 160 degrees to kill food-borne germs that might be present.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers everyday actions people can take to stay healthy:

– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

– Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

– Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

– If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Linda Foster Benedict

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