May 1, 2009

Canada pork exports seen down 5 to 10 percent


Canada's pork exports are projected to decline by five to ten percent since swine flu prompted some countries to stop accepting pork and hogs from North America, said the head of the industry's export promotion agency.
Jacques Pomerleau, executive director of Canada Pork International said consumer's declining purchasing power has been the primary reason for the sales drop.
Canada exported 1.1 million tonnes of pork last year, accounting for more than half of its production.

At least four countries have banned fresh pork from Canada -- El Salvador, Ukraine, Honduras and the Philippines -- according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Japan, South Korea, Ukraine and Philippines have also banned live swine from Canada.

The damage to the industry goes beyond those countries with official bans, Pomerleau said.

In the US, swine flu fears have curbed 8 to 12 percent of US pork exports, a US Meat Export Federation official said Wednesday.

Despite the name "swine flu", the new strain is not infecting pigs and has not been detected in pigs, but any perception of a link to pigs could provoke a consumer backlash that would cut demand for pork and livestock feed like soy.

Mexico has reported 176 deaths because of swine flu, based on symptoms and initial tests, with seven deaths so far confirmed by additional laboratory analysis at the World Health Organization.

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