China and other countries, including Russia, have moved to ban pork and other meat products from some U.S. states over the past week in reaction to the influenza outbreak. U.S. officials are warning trading partners that such embargoes could cause "serious trading disruptions."
The number of countries banning U.S. pork make up about 8 to 10 percent of America's pork export partners, according to estimates by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations report that the strain that has caused the influenza outbreak cannot be spread by food and that properly cooked pork is safe.
According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the Chinese government ordered all pork products from Mexico, Texas, Kansas and California destroyed or returned to the suppliers.
"(The) restrictions on U.S. pork or pork products or any meat products from the United States resulting from the recent outbreak do not appear to be based on scientific evidence and may result in serious trade disruptions without cause," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement Tuesday.
The list of countries imposing some style of U.S. pork ban is growing. So far, China, Russia, Honduras, El Salvador, Lebanon, Ukraine and Thailand have limited or full bans on U.S. pork, according Jim Herlihy, U.S. Meat Export Federation. Kazakhstan, Philippines and the United Arab Emirates are also banning U.S. pork, according to Kirk's office.
While China is banning all pork products from specified U.S. states, Russia has only banned meat that has not been "heat-treated." The country will take cooked pork.
Herlihy said the bans should be reversed but warned that the number could continue to grow. "Our fear is seeing people or seeing countries take a non-scientific approach to this and responding emotionally," he said, warning that those countries were stirring "unnecessary fear."
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement "there is no evidence at this time that swine has been infected with this virus." He said consuming pork is "of no risk" to consumers.
Source: Fox News