National Pork Producers Council Statement On Testing Of Pigs For H1N1 Flu

October 16, 2009

Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600

Washington, D.C., October 16, 2009 -Given today’s statement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it is conducting ‘confirmatory testing’ on swine for the novel H1N1 virus, the National Pork Producers Council is reiterating 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.

Additionally, the U.S. government has strict safeguards in place to protect the safety of the U.S. food supply. All pork found in retail stores and restaurants is inspected to the rigors of USDA standards for wholesomeness, and every pig is inspected to ensure that only healthy pigs enter the food supply.

The ‘confirmatory tests’ are being conducted on swine samples collected at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair between August 26 and September 1. According to USDA’s statement, the pigs sampled at the time showed no signs of illness and were apparently healthy.

NPPC also echoes USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack’s pronouncement that, like people, pigs routinely get sick or contract influenza viruses. Indeed, pigs in other countries previously have contracted the novel H1N1 flu.

Since the H1N1 flu was first reported in late April, NPPC and the National Pork Board have urged pork producers to tighten their existing biosecurity protocols to protect their pigs from the virus, including restricting public access to barns.

For more information about the H1N1 flu, visit www.factsaboutpork.com or www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu. Pork producers who want more information about dealing with the H1N1 flu should visit www.pork.org.

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org