Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz issues a statement regarding the impact of the H1N1 Influenza A on Canadian pork producers.
“Once again I want to restate that Canadian pork is safe. The international scientific community, including the OIE and WHO, agree that H1N1 Influenza A is not a food safety issue. We will continue to reassure Canadian consumers and our international trading partners that Canadian pork is safe.
“The Government of Canada continues to work closely with Canadian hog producers as they deal with the impact of H1N1 Influenza A.
‘Canadian pork is safe’
“I have also spoken to China’s ambassador, Lan Lijun, to reiterate that Canadian pork is safe. I strongly encouraged Ambassador Lan Lijun to ensure than China bases trade decisions on sound science.
“We will continue to stand up for Canadian pork producers and ensure that they are treated fairly by China and all members of the World Trade Organization.
“I have spoken to American Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make our American neighbours aware of the situation. He has assured me that Canadian hog producers will continue to have access to the American market. We will continue to work with our American partners as we deal with this issue.
“We are encouraging Canadian families to support struggling hog producers by picking up some pork next time they go to the grocery store.
“The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with Canadian pork producers to make sure they have the support they need.”
Pork exports drop
Detection of the virus in the herd of Canadian pigs sparked a sell-off in hogs. Canada Pork International, an export promotion group, said pork exports have dropped 10-15 % since the virus was detected in a swine herd.
Canada exported 1.1 million tonnes of pork last year, accounting for more than half of its production.
The US Meat Export Federation said last week the bans had cut US pork exports 8-12 %.