RALEIGH, N.C. — Humans cannot contract a strain of swine flu that has infected at least 1,600 people and caused 150 deaths worldwide from eating pork.
That's the word from the North Carolina Pork Council, which urged pork producers on Monday to strengthen safety prevention measures on their farms as a precaution.
"You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products," the Council said in a news release. "Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products are safe."
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Monday afternoon that no pigs have been found to be infected or sick with the virus and that it has only spread through human contact.
It is monitoring hog farms in the state and working closely with public health officials, the department said
"There's absolutely no reason to stop eating pork," said Barrett Slenning, director of Agrosecurity and Biopreparedness at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Slenning said hog farmers have been extra vigilant about the safety of their swine long before the swine flu.
"The North Carolina system is held up as a leader internationally in biosecurity – that is in protecting animals from outside sources for infection, whether it be other animals or people," Slenning said.