Before the current flu season got into full swing, Pork Checkoff, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians met with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about influenza.

The objective of the meeting was to see if accurate ways to describe influenza viruses that prevent confusion about pork’s safety could be found.

The CDC, along with international human and animal health agencies, recently announced that they will now refer to influenza viruses that normally circulate in animals and may infect humans as “variant influenza viruses,” designated by a “v.”

For example, the recent human cases of influenza A(H3N2)  that contained components of human, avian, swine and H1N1 influenzas are now called influenza A (H3N2) v.

“This will allow the media to use more accurate terminology to communicate to consumers and will help reinforce to consumers that you cannot get the flu from eating or handling pork,” says Jennifer Koeman, Pork Checkoff’s director of producer and public health, science and technology.