Michigan Agriculture Department to Consumers: Food Supply Safeguarded During the Influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak

Contact: Joint Information Center 888-EMD-TODAY (888-363-8632)

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2009

LANSING, Mich. - As part of the State of Michigan efforts, Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Don Koivisto reminds citizens that Influenza A (H1N1) is not currently affecting animal health and is not a food safety issue.

"I want to reassure residents that the Influenza A (H1N1) viruses are not transmitted by food so you cannot get the virus from eating pork or pork products," said Koivisto. "Please continue to properly handle pork or pork products, and cook pork to an internal temperature of 160°F, which kills any potential viruses."

MDA is working closely with federal, state and local partners to monitor the situation.

The MDA will work with farm commodity groups, licensed veterinarians, and farmers with licensed migrant housing to help inform workers and their families of safe health practices and ways to prevent transmission.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has requested all State Veterinarians report to the USDA Veterinary Services any cases of Influenza A (H1N1) identified in their respective states.

"MDA continues its increased surveillance of Michigan swine operations and markets," said MDA State Veterinarian Dr. Steve Halstead. "Michigan's commercial swine facilities include swine health surveillance as part of their routine management practices and will continue to do so throughout this current human outbreak."

Halstead also reminds pork producers, hog farmers, and 4-H families to maintain strict biosecurity procedures on their farms to protect the health of their animals. If producers suspect that a disease may be present on their farm, they should contact their local veterinarian immediately.

For additional information on Influenza A (H1N1) visit www.usda.gov, www.cdc.gov/swineflu or www.michigan.gov/swineflu.

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NOTE: ALL MEDIA INQUIRIES ARE BEING HANDLED BY THE JOINT INFORMATION CENTER AT 888-EMD-TODAY (888-363-8632).