LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - There's nothing on the menu for this week's Food for Thought. That's because, out of the dozens of restaurants inspected this week, not one was good or bad enough to make the list. But there is something that has become a low performer for many - swine flu.
Like the virus itself, the name swine flu is spreading quickly. Medical experts say, first and foremost, you cannot get swine flu from eating pork. "It's just unfortunate that that name was even applied to the disease," said Kansas pig farmer Ron Suther.
The current influenza strain that is spreading is a never-before-seen hybrid of human, swine and bird influenza. It's widely known as swine flu, even though Suther says the H1-N1 virus has never been found in pigs. "When they initially identified this in Mexico, the scientists or doctors that were involved thought it looked pretty similar to the one in Spain in 1918 so they just called it swine flu," he said.
It's that name which is causing confusion as to how this virus spreads. Thursday, Today Show contributor Dr. Nancy Snyderman set out to show everyone that dine and swine are not the same, "Despite the name swine flu, you cannot get this flu by eating pork, which is exactly what I'm going to do."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating products like bacon, ham and pork chops is safe, just make sure you cook the meat thoroughly.
Still, the outbreak is a potential disaster for our nation's $15 billion pork industry. China, Russia and Ukraine have banned pork imports from parts of the United States and all of Mexico. In Egypt, the government continues to slaughter more than 300,000 pigs despite strong protests from pig farmers.
And although hog prices usually increase in the Spring, pig farmers who sell their swine will get $8 less per hog today than they would last week, "That's a little bit of a concern, and you don't know how long it's gonna go on or much worse it might get."
Health experts say the bottom line is wash your hands often and thoroughly before eating, whether it's pork or not.
|get more>> Web Enhanced 4/30/09|
Food for Thought 4.30