As you no doubt have heard by now, unless bbqjew.com is your only source of contact with the outside world (in which case we fear you have more serious problems than the flu), the SWINE FLU has emerged as the leading threat to humankind. As best we can tell, the SWINE FLU! will either a) quickly fade away and be forgotten or b) decimate humanity. Here’s to hoping a) is correct. “But how does this potential epidemic impact dedicated barbecue eaters like me?,” you might ask. Or you might not. After initially fearing for the lives of our family and friends, this is exactly the disturbing question that entered my mind.
The good news is that, while the SWINE FLU!! may soon decimate the world’s population and bring a sudden end to civilization as we know it, it is perfectly safe to continue eating barbecue in the meantime. According to an informative Q&A posted on MSNBC online, “People cannot become infected by eating pork or pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills the virus as well as other bacteria, notes the CDC.”
Barbecue is certainly cooked to 160 degrees so there is no need for alarm. That’s right, folks, please continue to eat barbecue all you want. However, just to be on the safe side you may want to steer clear of eating barbecue at restaurants that have other customers or, to be extra safe, employees. Yes, it turns out the SWINE FLU!!! can be transmitted person-to-person as well as pig-to-person, so you may want to carry out your next barbecue plate and eat it inside your locked, HEPA-filtered, Tamiflu and meat thermometer stocked basement. But really, we assure you, there is absolutely NO NEED TO PANIC!!!
As an aside, the swine flu was first identified in hogs in 1930, which coincidentally (?) was around the beginning of the Great Depression. Now we are in the midst of another economic crisis and the swine flu is back in the news. Mere coincidence or public health fear mongering intended to distract Joe Public from economic fear mongering? You be the judge. As for me, I’ll let you know my thoughts on this matter just as soon as I emerge from my basement. See you in 2011.