Pork industry tackles swine flu fears

Hard on the heels of being reminded how bug-laden pork laid low some 63 guests on an Auckland marae with gastro-enteritis in 1997, Alf is being assured by the pork industry about the safety of their product.

But the assurance had nothing to do with hangis or kai or marae cooking practices.

NZPork is eager (understandably) to dispel concerns raised by the heavy media attention being paid to the new strain of H1N1 influenza virus, called swine flu

This afternoon it has declared it is carefully monitoring the situation.

More important for those who like to hog into pig meat, it emphasised that Pork is safe to eat

It has referred consumers to its web-site, saying:

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that it is safe to eat all pork and pork meat products. For cooking instructions see NZPork’s website.

Here’s hoping the instructions aren’t at odds with those put out in the NZ Food Safety Authority’s food guide for Maori.

NZPork’s media statement also deals with the management of the risk to the New Zealand pork-producing industry.

It explains that the H1N1 virus is called swine influenza because it probably originated in pigs.

However it is a new strain of the influenza A virus involving components of swine, avian and human influenza. It is a human health risk because it is being transmitted from human to human, and does not appear to involve pigs at all.

There has never been a case of swine influenza in pigs in New Zealand. However NZPork, in collaboration with MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is taking all precautions to ensure that potential transmission pathways from humans to pigs are controlled.

NZPork is reminding all pork producers to maintain effective farm biosecurity, particularly around visitor access to farms and pigs.

We are reminding pork producers to be vigilant around disinfecting and cleaning procedures when people enter and leave a farm, to ensure staff do not work with pigs if they have flu-like symptoms, and to raise any unusual pig health issues with their veterinary adviser immediately. Similarly we are asking the industry’s veterinary advisers to maintain their vigilance around unusual pig health issues.

The commercial industry and its advisers are asked to pass on this message to all owners of pigs.

Here’s hoping Deborarh Coddington and her QC husband are reading this post. They bought pigs from an Eketahuna breeder.

Alf would have been greatly comforted by NZ Pork’s assurances if their statement had stopped there. But it went on to describe the symptoms of swine influenza in pigs: sudden onset of fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and loss of appetite. Well, bugger.

He’s got everything on the bloody list.

One Response to Pork industry tackles swine flu fears

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