Mexican pigs not responsible for H1N1 flu, says ministry

NPPC says misnomer 'swine flu' has already done damage to pork industry

The H1N1 influenza virus did not originate from pigs at a Smithfield Foods operation, Mexico’s agriculture department said on May 14.

The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Ranching, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food released its test results confirming the A H1N1 virus strain – that has infected almost 4,300 people in 33 countries - was not found in pigs at the Granjas Carroll de México farm in Veracruz.

While the news was well received by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the organization pointed out that the misnomer "swine flu" had already done the damage to the U.S. pork industry.

Neil Dierks, CEO, NPPC said losses of pork producers nearly doubled after media reports of flu originating from pigs.

In the U.S., pork prices fell due to a fall in domestic demand and import bans imposed by other countries. Producers were losing $10.91 per pig on April 24, the day the flu was reported, which turned to $20.60 per pig in two weeks.

On April 26, the World Organization for Animal Health said the H1N1 influenza should have not been called “swine flu”. Several world organizations, including the World Health Organization, have repeatedly said pork was safe to eat and that the virus is not transmitted through food.

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