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USDA Confirms Novel H1N1 in Minnesota Pigs; AMI Assures Consumers That Pork is Safe

Monday, October 19, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle today assured consumers that U.S. pork is safe, following an announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmation that pigs screened at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair between August 26 and September 1 were positive for novel H1N1 is not unexpected.  The finding does not change the fundamental fact that U.S. pork is safe and consumers can continue to enjoy it with confidence,” Boyle said.

“USDA scientists and experts around the world have underscored that novel H1N1 is not a foodborne disease; it is a respiratory infection that does not impact pork safety. The U.S. government has many strict safeguards in place to protect the safety of our food supply.   All pork sold in the U.S. is inspected by USDA and must meet strict safety standards.   Every hog that is processed is inspected by a federal veterinarian to ensure that only healthy hogs are processed for food.   The ‘Inspected and Passed by USDA’ seal shows that pork is wholesome and safe to consume,” Boyle added.

Boyle said consumers should continue to enjoy pork as part of a healthy, balanced diet.  In addition, Boyle said he is confident that the United States’ trading partners will remember that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products.

For more information, visit http://www.meatsafety.org/.

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