The National Pork Producers Council told foreign officials during a briefing this week that the US pork industry and the US government are gearing up for a return of the novel H1N1 flu and that both would continue to get out the messages that the flu is not transmitted through food (pork) and that pork is safe to eat.
“We’re all dealing with the H1N1 flu in our respective countries,” NPPC CEO Neil Dierks told embassy officials from 25 countries at a reception with members of NPPC’s board of directors.
US pork exports
NPPC has been working with the Office of the US Trade Representative and the US Department of Agriculture to reopen to US pork exports markets that were closed in the wake of the H1N1 flu outbreak, which received wide media attention starting April 24.
While most nations that had them in place have lifted their bans on US pork, China and a few other countries have maintained them, citing fears of H1N1, which much of the media misnamed “swine” flu. China was the third largest US pork export market in 2008, buying nearly $690 million of US pork and pork products.
The pork export bans and a drop in consumer demand in the weeks following initial reports on the H1N1 flu, coupled with rising production costs and a worldwide economic slowdown that began two years ago, have cost the US pork industry more than $4.6 billion. US pork producers lost an average of nearly $25 per market hog and a combined $991 million from April 24 to mid-August.