Canada Discovers Flu Virus in Pigs

In early May, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the H1N1 flu virus in a swine herd in Alberta. The safety of the food supply was not affected and Canadian pork continues to be safe to eat.

CFIA stated it is highly probable that the pigs were exposed to the virus from a Canadian who had returned from Mexico and been exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Signs of illness were subsequently observed in the pigs. The individual has recovered and all of the pigs have recovered. As is standard protocol, the herd was placed under quarantine and no pigs ever left the farm. The chance that the pigs could transfer the virus to a person is remote.

Influenza viruses do not affect the safety of pork, according to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. As with any raw meat, pork should always be properly handled and cooked to eliminate a range of food safety concerns.

Pigs in Canada are tested for influenza viruses on an ongoing basis during routine investigations into respiratory illnesses. The CFIA has been working with provinces, territories, the swine industry, and private sector veterinarians since April 24, 2009, to enhance monitoring of swine herds for signs of illness and to maintain enhanced biosecurity measures on farms across the country.

June 2009 RENDER | back