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Gov't Assures Public about ‘North American Influenza’

by 5m Editor
30 April 2009, at 9:12am

NEW ZEALAND - It is now widely recognised that it is not correct to call the current disease ‘swine influenza’.

This is a different virus to the one that causes swine flu in pigs overseas. There is no evidence to date that pigs have been infected, or could be infected, by this mutated virus. There has never been a case of swine influenza in pigs in New Zealand.

Pork is safe to eat

Credible scientists including New Zealand Food Safety Authority confirm that pig flu viruses are not transmitted by food. The virus cannot be contracted from eating pork or pork products that are properly cooked.

Trade implications

A number of countries appear to have implemented trade bans on pigs and pigmeat. There have even been suggestions that at least two countries might stop imports of pigs and pigmeat from New Zealand. There is no justification for such restrictions and we will be requesting the relevant government agencies to remedy any such situation immediately, if it occurs.

As a precautionary measure, New Zealand pork producers have been asked to be extra vigilant about farm biosecurity and hygiene, particularly concerning any visitors. This is to ensure that if there is any risk of this virus being transmitted from humans to pigs, or any perception of a risk, it is minimised in New Zealand.