USDA: Statement on International Trade and H1N1

May 1, 2009 07:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Statement by ag leaders from U.S., Canada and Mexico

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

USDA this morning released the following statement on international trade and H1N1

Statement By Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food Alberto Cardenas

May 02, 2009

"We would like to express our deepest sympathies for the victims of the current outbreak of H1N1 influenza and emphasize that our governments are doing everything they can to bring the outbreak under control.

"We strongly urge the international community not to use the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza as a reason to create unnecessary trade restrictions and that decisions be made based on sound scientific evidence. H1N1 influenza viruses are not spread by food. International organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) all reiterate that the consumption of pork meat and related products do not present a health risk of contracting H1N1 influenza. Canadian, American and Mexican authorities have emphasized that they have not found a case of influenza in swine herds. All three of our countries are committed to ongoing monitoring and vigilance in both public and animal health.

"The current outbreak of H1N1 influenza, which is being spread from person to person, is being addressed by the health and sanitary authorities of our three countries, emphasizing the need for cooperation and a common front against this new virus. In addition, we fully support OIE efforts to alert and disseminate relevant information published by its members' laboratories in real time about the disease."

Comments: When this incident is over, there will be several countries -- and others -- in the hall of shame department.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration will send seveal officials to address the H1N1 flu outbreak on Sunday. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Dr. Richard Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will make the rounds, appearing on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, State of the Union and ABC’s This Week.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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