UN-WTO-Noneedtobanporkdueto.cfm UN-WTO: No need to ban pork due to swine flu
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UN-WTO: No need to ban pork due to swine flu

ROME (AP)--The U.N. and World Trade Organization said May 2 there is no justification for anti-pork trade measures as a result of the swine flu epidemic since there is no evidence the virus is spread by food.

The statement was the most emphatic yet from the United Nations and other agencies that consumers can safely eat pig products as long as they are prepared hygienically.

The joint statement was issued after major American pork importers like Russia and China banned pork products from certain U.S. states. Other countries, like Indonesia, Ukraine, Philippines and Serbia, have banned certain pork products from the entire United States.

"To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food," said the statement, which was issued by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization, along with the WTO and the World Organization for Animal Health.

The World Organization for Animal Health disseminates information reported to it by member countries about animal diseases. It publishes an animal health standards code based on that information, and the WTO recognizes the code as a reference for its international sanitary rules.

The joint statement said there is no justification under that code to impose import bans on pork products.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation, which represents pork and beef interests abroad, estimates that U.S. pork exports have dropped about 10 percent since the swine flu scare started. The U.S. exports about one-fourth of its pork and pork products, creating an export market worth about $4.8 billion in 2008, according to the group.

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