Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Pork industry wants swine flu renamed
Although there are only 19 confirmed cases of swine flu in Canada, it has the pork industry excited. Call it the H1N1 virus, the Mexican flu, a pandemic or just a panic — but whatever you call it, Canadian pork producers would really, really like you to stop calling it "swine flu."
Pork producers are bracing for a market collapse along the lines of what happened to Canadian export markets for beef after an Alberta cow tested positive for mad cow disease in 2003.
Despite repeated assurances from public health officials that this new hybrid flu strain only appears to be transmitted between humans, the fear is already taking hold in international markets. Russia, China and more than a dozen other countries have banned pork imports from countries affected by the outbreak.