Pork Sales Taking Time to Recover

SOUTH KOREA - After taking a hit in sales due to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in April, Korean pork sales are slowly beginning to recover, according to industry experts yesterday.
calendar icon 14 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

"We can't say consumer sentiment has yet fully recovered, but it has improved a lot," said Oh Yoon-hwan, a spokesman for the Korea Swine Association.

The outbreak of the new H1N1 virus dropped the wholesale price of pork to 4,400 won per kilogram, reports The Korea Herald. The comparable figure before the pandemic was about 5,000 won, according to the Korea Swine Association.

Around the globe, nations have restricted the import of of live pigs, pork and even cattle and poultry because of fears the flu may have spread through animal products.The Korean government, however, only banned imports of live pigs in order to ease public fears. It refrained from banning other imports out of lack of concrete scientific evidence pigs are to blame for spreading the flu.

The Agriculture Ministry has been promoting pork as safe to consume and that the virus completely dies under cooking temperatures of 71°C.

Pork-related businesses and farms worldwide took a tough beating. A global flu alert triggered a trade row over bans on pork and pigs from Mexico, Canada and the United States, the three most affected countries by the pandemic.

According to experts, the latest H1N1 variant contains mostly DNA from swine, with components of human and avian influenzas. The source of the outbreak in humans is still unknown.

Yoon Hyun-sik, a spokesman of Lotte Department Store, said those consumers who find department stores reliable continue to buy pork, however, noting that there is still some ways to go before conditions return to normal.

"It seems that immediate full recovery is still a bit difficult, so we'll have to wait and see how the situation improves," Yoon said.

Lotte Mart said pork sales had dropped by 10 percent in April compared to a year ago, but that the figure had picked up to 3 to 5 per cent growth this month.

Shinsegae Department Store and E-Mart said it will hold a two-day pork promotion event beginning today, offering sampling opportunities and discounts of up to 20 to 30 per cent.

Oh of the Swine Association said consumption promotion campaigns would now be taking place independently at the regional and local level, as opposed to taking a national approach.

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