Saskatchewan Ag Minister Re-Affirms Safety of Pork

CANADA - Saskatchewan's agriculture minister is reassuring consumers and Canada's trading partners of the safety of Canadian pork, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 May 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Yesterday Saskatchewan's agriculture minister and the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board issued a joint statement reassuring consumers of the safety of pork and pork products, despite the current outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.

Recent statements made by the World Health Organization about food safety risks associated with pork, although later retracted, have added to consumer concerns.

Bob Bjornerud says the science tells us there's no link between the virus and pork and, in issuing the statement, he and the industry are attempting to reassure the public.

Bob Bjornerud-Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister

I think the big concern we had, as we all know, the pork industry, the hog industry in general has been in tough times for the last couple of years.

We were just starting to maybe see a little light at the end of the tunnel, prices were starting to improve a wee bit.

They had a long way to go before we get to break even but they were heading in the right direction and then the H1N1 Influenza came along and because of the choice of names that they came out to start with it actually pointed fingers at the hog industry and prices dropped again of course because some of the countries were putting bans in place for Alberta pork and Canadian pork and U.S. and Mexican pork so it certainly didn't do the industry any good and I think that's what we're doing here in Saskatchewan.

I know Manitoba had a barbecue, I believe doing the same as we're doing today and I think Alberta did that to.

On all fronts I think, federal and provincially from all the ministers of agriculture, we're trying to reassure everyone that pork is safe and that with the barbecue season coming up right now go out and buy pork products and use them on your barbecues.

It's probably the best pork in the world right now that we grow here in Canada.

Minister Bjornerud says if importing countries base their decisions on science they'll lift their restrictions on importing pork.

He notes, when BSE hit the cattle industry Canadians responded by consuming more beef and he's encouraging those same consumers to the same thing now and buy more pork.

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