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International Organizations Stress Pork Safety in Joint H1N1 Statement

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

In the wake of pork export bans due to the human H1N1 outbreak, four major international organizations released a joint statement over the weekend stressing the safety of pork products and rejecting bans on pork imports from countries with human cases.

The three-paragraph statement was issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and World Trade Organization (WTO).

"In light of the spread of influenza A/H1N1, and the rising concerns about the possibility of this virus being found in pigs and the safety of pork and pork products, we stress that pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection,” the statement read.

"To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food. There is currently therefore no justification in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Code for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products."

The statement stressed that veterinary authorities should collaborate with human health counterparts to monitor pig herds for any signs of unusual illness with suspected linkages to human cases of A/H1N1 influenza.

 The A/H1N1 virus was first known as "swine flu." To avoid misleading consumers, the WHO formally gave up the term on Thursday.

 For more information, go to: www.wto.org/english/news_e/news09_e/jt_stat_02may09_e.htm

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