The following statement was issued today in response to the the World Health Organization's announcement as it raised the incidence of Type A H1N1 influenza to a pandemic level 6.  Dick Isler, Ohio Pork Producers Council released the statement on behalf of Ohio pork producers, but it can equally apply to pork producers in any U.S. state. 

“Like all consumers, Ohio’s hog farmers are concerned about the spreading of the H1N1 virus and the announcement from the WHO today.  That being said, we are troubled by the continued misnaming of this virus as the ‘swine flu’.  The negative effect of the incorrect association of the influenza virus to hog farms has been devastating to our industry in terms of sales, exports and overall pork consumption.  Ohio’s hog farmers are in jeopardy and many farms may be forced into bankruptcy if this crisis continues."

 “It cannot be repeated enough – this virus has not been found in any pigs in the U.S., and groups like the Center for Disease Control and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have called for the virus to be named by its strain Type A H1N1.  Despite the fact that health and food experts alike have definitively stated that people cannot be exposed to this virus from eating pork products, overall pork consumption has fallen since the virus was found. 

 “Hog farmers are suffering huge financial losses – which increase every time the virus is incorrectly called the ‘swine flu’.  Since the virus was found, average industry losses have increased by $10 per hog due to the misunderstanding about the relationship between pork and the virus.

 “A report from the Congressional Research Service has found that misnaming the Type A H1N1 influenza outbreak could cost the U.S. pork industry up to $400 million in the next few months.  The National Pork Producers Council has predicted that the potential doubling of financial losses from the effect of the virus could cause enough hog farmers to go out of business to reduce the overall pork population by 5 percent.

 “Ohio’s 4,100 hog farmers remain committed to producing safe, wholesome, high-quality pork for customers and being vigilant in protecting the health and well-being of our herds.”

Read more Type A H1N1 information.

 Source: Ohio Pork Producers Council