Just How Much of a Swine Will This Flu Be?
The nation seems to be awash with Swine Flu this week. Well not literally, as yet, but it certainly seems to be occupying many minds, and be the top topic of conversations amongst the population. In fact the words ‘credit crunch’ seem to have been one of the worst victims of this potential pandemic. Obviously a lot of the concern, awareness and hype is driven by a sensationalist led media, something we seemed to have come accustomed to as a nation. It is very difficult for us ordinary folk, especially when pressed for time already, to read passed the headlines and the short news bulletins that seem to have been dominated the flagship news mediums all this week, and get a proper understanding and accurate grasp of how this may all affect us individually.
This is breeding confusion, and probably some panic and over reaction, as uncertainty and concern combine. And while the current focus seems to be on whether or not this particular strain of flu will actually spread, rather than anything else, there are a few bubbling issues in the background, that are sure to eventually come more to the front. One of the concerns for the pork industry must be the possible impact this is going to have on demand, sales, and price. The right people seem to be moving quickly to stamp on this before it actually becomes an issue.
The UK and some other members of the European Union undertake routine surveillance to help detect the presence of animal diseases not normally present in the EU and to identify any change in the prevalence of diseases that do occur. Results of our surveillance suggest that this variant of H1N1 does not appear to be present in pigs in the UK or anywhere else in the EU. However we are taking this developing situation very seriously and will maintain our surveillance effort, keeping the public and industry informed of any developments. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn told the Newspaper Society. He further went on to reassure the public by saying that the EU does not even import any pig products from Mexico.
The World Health Organization itself has also reiterated that it is not possible to pass this type of virus via the consumption of pork, and if the correct steps are taken, and standards adhered to, then any infected pigs would not get that far down the food chain in any case.
By these actions, and statements, the British pork producers may actually benefit from consumers that will, for once, be more focused on quality and source than solely on price. Hence a demand for a quality home assured product that may be slightly more expensive, might actually increase. However there is also the issue that with this flu simply being labeled as ‘Swine Flu’ that as such, the pig may end up carrying the can amongst those confused and knee jerking into a reaction. And that reaction may include removing pork from their diet.