The choice of “swine flu” as the name for the Type A H1N1 influenza virus has been costly for pork producers. Hog prices normally rally in early May and the futures market was predicting a big jump this year.
On April 24, before this new flu hit the media, cash hog prices averaged $61.05 per hundredweight and the futures market indicated prices would be at $67 by mid-May. But, as May approached, cash prices dropped $10 as people incorrectly associated the new flu with pigs and pork. During the first three weeks of press coverage, the “swine flu” name cost U.S. pork producers about $90 million.