Recently, like most Americans I have been watching the flurry of media regarding the swine flu also known as the H1N1 virus and the reference to its being a pandemic. Fox Business recently reported http://bit.ly/gRyfQ that officials led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are waging a battle against bad public relations targeting the pig. I have to ask – what took so long for this to happen? Why wasn’t someone educating the public that eating pork is not how the swine flu/H1N1 virus is spread and communicating that it is contracted in the traditional way influenza is passed from one person to another?
Today, The Pork Producers Council’s Web site reports http://bit.ly/127gvL “People cannot get the flu from eating or handling pork,” said Dr. Jennifer Greiner, director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council. “The flu is a respiratory illness not a food-borne illness.” The article also states that a worker who recently visited Mexico – and became ill with flu-like symptoms – is suspected of transmitting the virus to a pig.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states http://bit.ly/bXjCM about 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu. Hopefully the negative press will not turn consumers against the $15 billion pork products industry. There are two sides to every story. The pig is getting a bad rap; I say BLT anyone?