MOUNT VERNON — Deciding what to eat for dinner tonight, or breakfast tomorrow, should not be influenced by the growing number of deaths of illness attributed to swine flu. Eating pork continues to be safe, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“Consumption is completely safe. There is no risk of this strain from eating pork,” said Kaleigh Frazier, public information officer for the ODA.
Frazier said animals are inspected thoroughly before being sent for processing. Any animal, regardless of breed, that shows signs of viral infection would be deemed unfit for human consumption.
The ODA continues to educate and encourage pig farmers to make sure proper ventilation is found in all barns, flu vaccine is used for pigs and workers, and that proper hygiene habits are used. To further these measures, the ODA is pushing for sick leave for workers, especially if they have flu-like symptoms.
“There is no evidence swine flu has presented itself in the U.S. swine population,” Frazier said.
Another precaution the ODA offers Ohio farmers is to use caution with workers, especially if they have traveled internationally. If so, the use of gloves and masks are recommended. The ODA also suggests farmers refrain from allowing visitors to mingle with the animals.
One other precaution pig farmers can take is to watch pig to bird contact.
“Farmers need to make sure open waters are properly treated and to watch for cross contamination with water and protect feed from bird waste,” Frazier said.