Fear of swine flu is a good reason to wash your hands, but not to take pork off the menu. Federal health officials say the virus that has triggered fears of a flu pandemic is not transmitted by food, and that all food-borne germs are killed when pork is cooked to the recommended internal temperature of 160 degrees F. There also is no evidence so far that American pigs are infected with the virus.
Also, people cannot become infected by touching uncooked pork, the US Department of Agriculture said today. Swine flu can be spread the same way seasonal viruses are, mainly through sneezing, coughing, and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, as well as through contact with infected pigs. When cooking pork, internal temperature is a better indicator than color to determine whether the meat is safely cooked.