The H1N1 influenza virus has yet another name. The World Health Organization has named the virus Influenza A, and the World Organization for Animal Health said the H1N1 influenza should never have been named swine flu. The OIE says there is no justification for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products. Officials at USDA, the Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Homeland Security agree that the virus is not in the U.S. hog herd and there are no food safety issues.
The National Pork Producers Council says it expects the restrictions placed on U.S. pork exports by certain nations due to concerns about the H1N1 virus to be temporary.
"The H1N1 virus is transmitted through human contact and pork is 100% safe to consume," said NPPC Vice President and International Trade Counsel Nick Giordano. "It is imperative that our trade officials stop the export bleeding now."
While the current export restrictions are manageable, Giordano pointed out, it will be difficult to withstand the loss of further markets. Despite those facts, Ukraine, St. Lucia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Honduras and Croatia have banned U.S. pork imports. Russia and China, which are significant markets for U.S. pork exports, and Kazakhstan, have banned U.S. pork from certain states.