An outbreak of a hybrid form of swine influenza has not affected the safety of pork, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

At last count, 20 people in the United States have been identified as infected with the flu virus.

More than 1,300 people in Mexico have contracted the same flu type, which is a hybrid of avian, swine and human flu viruses.

At a White House briefing yesterday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said people cannot become infected with swine flu from eating pork.

Based on early investigations, in all of the cases so far there was no contact with swine.

The CDC stresses this unique strain of flu has not previously been recognized in either pigs or people. “This virus is different, very different from that found in pigs. At this time, there is no evidence that the hybrid influenza is present in pigs in the United States.”

While the current cases are not strictly swine influenza, the National Pork Board is collaborating with the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide information on swine flu. More information can be found in the fact sheet, “INFLUENZA: Pigs, People and Public Health.”