Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called a news conference Thursday to talk directly to reporters who continue to misuse the term swine flu to characterize the H1N1 virus. The Secretary emphasized that the term swine flue is not only inaccurate, but is kicking an industry that is already down. Vilsack said misuse of the term is causing undue and undeserved harm to America's agricultural industry.
Vilsack pointed out that pork producers are suffering through a very, very depressed market and every time the flu is mislabeled and misrepresented it makes it that much more difficult to climb out of this difficult economic time.
Secretary Vilsack also told reporters USDA has developed a seed virus and given it to five veterinary manufacturers to speed creation of a vaccine for swine in case H1N1 is passed from humans to the hog population. This has not yet occurred in the United States. He added that even if that does occur, swine typically recover from such viruses and the virus cannot be passed through pork meat. He added that if any swine contract H1N1, they will be kept out of the slaughter population until recovered.