Pork export bans on flu fears unjustified: O.I.E.
May 07, 2009
by Bryan Salvage
PARIS — After several countries imposed trade restrictions on countries exporting pigs or products of pork origin that have declared human cases related to the new A/H1N1 influenza, the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) charged imposing such bans do not comply with international standards published by the O.I.E. and all other competent standard-setting international bodies for animal health and food safety.
On May 5, the first transmission of"A/H1N1" virus from human to pigs in a single herd was officially notified to the O.I.E. by Canada. The virus is the novel influenza virus "A/H1N1", but the disease linked with the "classical" swine influenza virus is different and is not notifiable to the O.I.E. since it is mild in pigs and the infection only rarely seriously affects humans.
"The O.I.E. will develop appropriate standards for this emerging disease," the organization said in a statement. "In the meantime, and until new standards have been adopted by its 174 member countries and territories, the O.I.E. recommends all animals from the currently infected Canadian farm be maintained in strict isolation and that quarantine from the farm not be lifted until it has been rigorously demonstrated by the Veterinary Services of the country concerned that there are no pigs infected with the "A/H1N1" virus at the farm. This recommendation would also apply to any other country that should experience a similar situation."
The O.I.E. iterated its recommendations already published jointly with W.H.O., F.A.O. and the W.T.O on May 2 regarding the safety of pork and pork products.