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Swine Flu Not Linked To Smithfield Foods

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, May 15, 2009 11:03 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, CDC, Public Health, Influenza A, Swine Flu, Smithfield Foods


IMAGE SOURCE: Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation’s largest producer and processor of pork, said Thursday that tests have confirmed no presence of (A)H1N1, or swine flu, was detected in the pig herd at Granjas Carroll de México (GCM), the company’s joint venture farm in Veracruz, Mexico.

In the wake of last month’s influenza outbreak, Smithfield’s hog operation had been singled out by some, including critics of modern pork production, as the source of the A-H1N1 flu virus.

The tests were conducted by Mexican authorities, which had taken samples from hogs on Smithfield’s farm about two weeks ago.

“The findings validate what we have believed from the very start – that the recent subtype of H1N1 influenza virus affecting humans did not originate GCM,” wrote C. Larry Pope, Smithfield's CEO.

There is no evidence of H1N1 influenza in any of our swine herds or employees at any of our worldwide operations, including those in the United States, said Mr. Pope.

NPPC, U.S. and world public-health and agriculture agencies repeatedly have pointed out that pork is safe to eat and handle and that flu viruses are not transmitted through food.

Over the past few weeks the flu outbreak has hammered Smithfield’s stock and cut into sales as the company was hoping to recover from an industry-wide slump, writes the WSJ.

According to the National Pork Producers Council, the flu outbreak has resulted in pork producers losing nearly $8.4 million a day, causing the industry to ask for government assistance.

As of Thursday, more than 6,600 people have been infected worldwide with the virus and 69 have died, including 3 in the U.S. and 64 in Mexico. #

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