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NPPC and USMEF Comment on H1N1 Outbreak

by 5m Editor
20 October 2009, at 1:14pm

US - With yesterday’s announcement by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that pigs in Minnesota tested positive for the 2009 novel H1N1 virus, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reiterates that pork is safe to eat and handle and that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu viruses cannot be transmitted through food, including pork.

Pigs, like people, sometimes get sick or contract influenza viruses and recover. Indeed, pigs in several other countries previously have contracted the novel H1N1 flu.

As it did in late April after initial reports on the H1N1 flu, NPPC is urging pork producers to tighten their existing biosecurity protocols to protect their pigs from the virus, including restricting public access to barns.

“USMEF has been preparing for this event for some time, and our international staff has been working diligently with trade officials, importers, retailers and all involved in international pork trade to minimize any adverse reaction from our trading partners,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “This is part of a strong, collaborative effort by everyone in the US pork industry to ensure that our producers continue to have fair market access as well as strong consumer demand for US pork in our foreign markets.”

When the H1N1 outbreak initially occurred earlier this year, the vast majority of US trading partners acted very responsibly and did not close their markets to US pork. With the exception of China, most major markets for US pork either remained continuously open or reopened after a brief suspension.

USMEF actively promotes US pork in more than 80 countries across the world. While consumer resistance to pork has been present in some markets due to H1N1 influenza, USMEF has been largely successful in overcoming misinformation about the virus and in rebuilding consumer pork demand.