Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine flu scare is more bad news for pork industry

"The U.S. pork industry shifted into rapid-response mode following the news of an outbreak of swine flu in humans, trying to quell disease fears and protect an already weak pork market," report Lauren Etter, Debbie Carlson and Curt Thacker of The Wall Street Journal. "Although there appears to be no evidence yet tying the flu to human contact with pigs, Russia banned meat imports from Mexico, several U.S. states and nine Latin American nations."

The National Pork Producers Council said, "Pork is safe to eat." Adding that the Center for Disease Control has said that none of the cases in the United States had been in contact with with hogs. "Based on the CDC's analysis, there does not seem to be any reason to restrict pork imports or consumption, but this situation is so new that it undoubtedly will take a few days for the correct information to reach all parties," Jim Herlihy, vice president of information services for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, an industry group.

The flu outbreak is bad news for a struggling industry. Exports were down 13 percent in February from a year earlier, and many pork processors are struggling to stay profitable. Smithfield Foods Inc. reported a $103.1 million loss last quarter. (Read more)

No comments: