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Setting the Swine Story Straight
May 06, 2009

Not many people contemplate the origin of their morning sausage or pork tenderloin dinner, but when “swine flu” made headline news the negative connotations began to fly. Swine producers and related industry have taken a hit over the past three weeks. Pork sales have declined and exports halted as pictures of dirty pigs and the term “swine flu” littered media. Just recently, good news came to pork supporters when the flu was renamed “H1N1” for lack of evidence that swine passed the virus to humans. 
"We need to take advantage of every opportunity to get the messages out that pork is safe to eat and that people cannot get the flu from eating or handling pork," said North Carolina Pork Council Chief Executive Officer Deborah Johnson.  "We will continue to monitor the situation and work with our national and state partners to implement industry response plans.”
As the story continues to unfold, it is important to reiterate the facts regarding H1N1 flu and the misconceptions associated with the disease. The World Health Organization reports having no evidence that pigs are passing the virus to humans or that the flu can be contracted through final product consumption. In fact, properly handled and cooked pork is completely safe. 
According to an Associated Press article released May 3, the first known case of pigs having the flu came from Canada, where a farm worker infected the herd after returning from a trip to Mexico. For those of us familiar with the industry, we know that swine integrators take every measure to ensure they do not have a flu outbreak. Biosecurity is top priority because the flu is very hard on pigs and is detrimental to pork production. Companies even go as far as vaccinating employees with flu shots to prevent humans from infecting their herd - not the other way around.
 “We have biosecurity programs in place that are there every single day, not just when an emergency occurs,” said Dr. Howard Hill, client from Iowa Select Farms, COO. “All of our facilities are 'shower in/shower out' facilities ... and we have a policy if anybody's sick they can't enter the farm." Reports like these are helping to calm Americans’ fear as the public expresses concerns over the health of swine herds in the United States. has assisted many swine production companies like Iowa Select Farms in recruiting top talent over the years and is a strong supporter of the industry. Even in a time of economic down turn, job opportunities within swine production are still present and provide many people with rewarding careers worldwide. In fact, the term “swine” is one of the top keyword searches on’s online career site. A search for swine will result in a listing of almost 50 active postings on the website currently being advertised to jobseekers. 
Despite the negative publicity in recent weeks, the industry is<

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