Global organizations stress pork safety, reject bans

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Four major international organizations released a joint statement over the weekend stressing the safety of pork products and rejecting bans on pork imports from countries with human cases, in the wake of pork export bans due to the H1N1 outbreak.

The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and World Trade Organization issued the three-paragraph statement, according to the American Meat Institute.

"In light of the spread of influenza A/H1N1, and the rising concerns about the possibility of this virus being found in pigs and the safety of pork and pork products, we stress that pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection," the statement read. "To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food. There is currently therefore no justification in the O.I.E. Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Code for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products."

Veterinary authorities should collaborate with human health counterparts to monitor pig herds for any signs of unusual illness with suspected linkages to human cases of A/H1N1 influenza, the statement stressed.

For more information, go to: www.wto.org/english/news_e/news09_e/jt_stat_02may09_e.htm.

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