AFBF Allays North American Influenza Concerns

US - President of the American Farm Bureau Federation yesterday assured the public that pork is safe for consumption and will continue to be safe to eat.
calendar icon 29 April 2009
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Mr Stallman stated that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made it evident that consumers cannot get swine flu through consumption of pork or products.

He also assured the public that the US hog herd is healthy and that the American pork supply is safe. So far, 40 cases of the hybrid flu strain have been diagnosed in the United States. All US cases were spread by human-to-human contact. Preliminary investigations have determined none of the US citizens infected with the hybrid flu had contact with swine. "The US pork industry is making every effort to ensure that the US pork supply is safe, and the industry continues to monitor US swine for disease symptoms. Today, there are no reports of influenza virus circulating in the US swine herd," Mr Stallman said.

Mr Stallman said that the Farm Bureau hopes that the news media will no longer use the term ‘swine flu.’ The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which handles veterinary issues around the world, says that the new disease should more appropriately be labeled ‘North American influenza’ in keeping with a long standing medical tradition of naming influenza pandemics for the regions where they were first identified. The term ‘hybrid influenza’ is also more accurate, he said.

“We hope consumers will continue to enjoy pork products to support hog producers who were facing difficult economic conditions even before the influenza outbreak," he said.

"AFBF also wants to make it clear to our overseas trading partners that US pork and pork products are safe. The discovery of this virus in humans should not be used as a reason to restrict imports of commercially produced US pork and pork products," he continued.

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