While consumers who are concerned over pork's safety may temporarily increase their beef consumption, it is more probable that all meats, including beef, will be adversely affected by the H1N1 virus. That's according to Dr. Derrell Peel, extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
Peele says the situation could further delay economic recovery in the U.S. and worldwide, making it more difficult for some countries to import beef, pork and other protein. This could be especially true in Mexico, which is a critically important market for U.S. beef and pork. Peel speculates some countries could use the situation to ban imports of beef and pork, as China and Russia already have.
At this point, Peel said there is no real way to anticipate how bad the flu situation will get, and the economic impact is as uncertain for beef as for pork. He says that the situation highlights a never-ending need to educate consumers and make sure that policymakers use science rather than emotion in making policy decisions.