U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today praised the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for their work to persuade Chinese officials to lift their ban on U.S. pork products and live swine. Despite international science-based consensus that the H1N1 virus, which has mistakenly been referred to as "swine flu", cannot be spread by consuming pork, China implemented tight restrictions on this trade in May. But today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that they had successfully negotiated a return to open pork trade between the two countries. In 2008, the U.S. exported $560 million in pork products and live swine to China.
"There are many things we can and should be doing to reduce the spread of H1N1, but avoiding pork is not one of them," McCaskill said. "I am happy today for Missouri's pork producers who have been suffering from false blame for this virus -- this was a real victory for them. There is no health reason for people to avoid eating pork, and I think that message was sent loud and clear today."