Vilsack, Ritz affirm support for pork industry

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Steps are being taken to protect public health and strengthen the pork industry in the U.S. and Canada, according to statements from Canada's Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 5.

More analysis conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency of the H1N1 Influenza A has affirmed that the virus found recently in swine at a farm in Alberta, Canada, is the human strain. The C.F.I.A. has fully isolated and contained the situation on the Alberta farm.

"We are confident that Canadian authorities are taking all necessary steps to protect the public and the pork industry," Mr. Vilsack said. "The international scientific community agrees that pork is safe. We are urging all countries to remove any restrictions on the movement of pork that are not based on sound science. A strong and respectful relationship is vital for the pork industry in both Canada and the United States."

Both Canada and the U.S. recognize the scientific consensus of international scientific organizations, such as the O.I.E. and W.H.O., which clearly state that this is not a food-safety issue. Both countries continue to re-affirm the fact that pork is safe.

"Canada is committed to close scientific cooperation with our American counterparts," Mr. Ritz said. "This is a great example of both countries rejecting protectionism and respecting international agreements to keep safe trade moving."

Both men said Canada and the U.S. are collaborating closely to share diagnostic and research information with full transparency to protect human and animal health.

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