You can't get the novel virus commonly called "swine flu" by pigging out on barbecue, even if the boar or sow you used for chow had the disease, the federal government has confirmed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it now has "additional confirmation" that meat from pigs exposed to the novel H1N1 virus did not have the virus in it.
The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service did the study.
“This research provides additional reassurance for consumers about the safety of pork,” Edward B. Knipling, the research service administrator, said in USDA press release.
Researchers got samples of the novel virus from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With those samples from infected people in California and Mexico, they inoculated 30 five-week-old pigs, which were studied for symptoms of the disease and then euthanized in three, five or seven days.
The researchers then tested tissue samples from the pigs’ lungs, liver, muscle, spleen and other organs to look for live virus and nucleic acids from the virus.
The pigs appeared to have upper respiratory ailments consistent with influenza, but the study found no evidence the virus had spread,
Reports the USDA: "These findings ... support recommendations of the World Health Organization that pork harvested from swine that had been infected previously and had recovered from the virus can be safely handled or eaten, following basic hygiene practices for handling of meat."
So next time you get a hankering to pig out on pork, don't worry whether there's swine flu in your barbecue.