U.S. Warns Other Nations Not to Ban Pork

Governments around the world are launching medical and clean up operations to protect citizens against swine flu infections.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

U.S. officials said yesterday that they are renaming the swine flu crisis the "2009 H1N1 virus outbreak" and warned other countries not to "ban or prevent" imports of U.S. pork or other products.

"This really isn't swine flu. It's H1N1 virus," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

"We want to say to consumers here and abroad that there is no risk to you. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that there is any link between consuming pork, prepared pork products and the H1N1 virus," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk added.

Prices of U.S. pork, corn and soybeans dived Monday after Russia, China and the Philippines suspended pork imports from Mexico and some U.S. states, despite the absence of any link between pork consumption and the influenza A virus called H1N1.

"We want to make sure that a handful of our trading partners don't take advantage of this legitimate concern over public health and engage in behavior that could also damage the world's economy," Kirk said. "Any actions -- activity engaged by any of our trading partners not based on sound science and not based on our rules-based systems of governing could do extraordinary damage, not just to our economy but to those of other countries, as well."

-- Spencer S. Hsu

© 2009 The Washington Post Company