Monday, June 1, 2009

Month After H1N1 Flu Outbreak 16 Countries Continue Ban of Safe Pork Products

Sixteen countries continue to have official or unofficial bans on U.S. pork imports. They took action in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak despite the fact that properly cooked and handled pork and pork products are safe, as confirmed by U.S. and international health organizations.

It has now been over month since the H1N1 flu outbreak and it is vital that these countries reopen their markets to U.S. pork. While the initial action by these and other countries to ban U.S. pork were unjustified, the fact that the restrictions persist show that these trade barriers are not, and never have been, based on science.

The Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, St. Lucia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Armenia have banned all U.S. pork. Russia and China only have bans in place for some states and Korea has banned the import of live hogs. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Macedonia also have unofficial bans in place.

According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture 8,758 Iowa farmers raised over 47 million hogs with a value of $4.8 billion.

Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the nation and Iowa farmer who raise hogs face significant hardship due to the actions of these countries. Now that we have entered prime summer grilling season it’d be great if Iowans threw an extra pork chop on to help Iowa’s hog farmers.