The H1N1 virus continues to spread with cases reported in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, South Dakota and New York. The flu has also spread beyond North America. According to CBS News, cases have been identified in Spain, Israel, the United Kingdom and Germany.
So far there have been no reported cases of the virus in pigs and according to the World Organization for Animal Health it is not necessary to introduce specific measures for international trade in swine or their products, nor are consumers of pork products at risk of infection. Despite that several countries, including Russia, China and the Ukraine have put restrictions on imports of pork from the U.S. and Mexico.
When USDA became aware of the virus they sent messages to their Foreign Agricultural Service offices around the globe instructing them to talk with their counterparts and assure them that this is not a foodbourne illness and infection can not be transmitted by meat products.
"We received reassurance and a very strong statement from some of our trading partners, Japan in particular, recognizing that," Vilsack said. "Our U.S. Trade Representative will continue to have conversations with those who have taken action. We think there must be some rational based in science for the kinds of bans that have been suggested and we don't believe that exists today."