Thursday, April 30, 2009

Smithfield flu?

Now we're hearing from the International Porcine Protection Council, or an industry-representing group with a name along those lines, that a country ham sandwich is no more dangerous today than it was last month, or last year.

Furthermore, they want any sort of germs that have slipped across the border to be labeled "Mexican," or anything other than "swine."

Apparently, all the news coverage of a scary new strain of the flu -- we now have cases in Virginia -- is making some folks sweat, that is folks in the business of selling swine meat to a hungry world of consumers.

Meanwhile, Lowell Feld at Blue Virginia has some worthwhile thoughts on the swine flu story and its possible connection to Virginia and its politics.
There's been a great deal of discussion recently about the swine flu, of course. There's also been discussion, but to a far lesser extent, about the possible role of a Mexican subsidiary of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods in the disease's outbreak. The issue even came up at the Virginia Democratic governors' debate last night, with the candidates being asked if they'd taken money from Smithfield...
Click here to read all of Feld's post.

Click here to read a Rolling Stone article about Smithfield Foods' gigantic pork-producing operation published a couple of years ago. It's an eye-opener.

Who knows? Once all is said and done, maybe this new malady will end up being called the "Smithfield flu."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saw a waggish headline:

"A BANNER WEEK FOR HYPOCHONDRIACS"http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/18940/

Paul H said...

RTD reports that Egyption farmers are protesting a decree to kill all 350,000 pigs in the country.

First off, I am surprised to find 350,000 pigs in Egypt, but I guess the must be Christian pigs.

Secondly, there have been no cases of swine flu in Egypt.

Thirdly, swine flu is not passed from pig to people, not usually anyway.

Scott said...

From Facing South: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm? 04.30.09

http://www.southernstudies.org/2009/04/swine-flu-linked-to-smithfield-factory-farm.html

Even if this story is proven erroneous, and I have not seen any sign of that, what about the question of this flu virus’ hybrid lineage? What about how chicken factory farming on the Eastern Shore is polluting the Chesapeake Bay? Flu source or no flu source, unsustainable agriculture is ecological disaster.

F.T. Rea said...

Scott,

Of course I don't know how this new flu got started. The investigation has just begun. But if it does owe its origin to mutations caused in some part by feces-contaminated air and water, why should anyone be surprised?

Was that massive pig farm put where it was, close to a poor village in Mexico, because such people have no power to prevent it?

Maybe this will bring on the scrutiny of the chicken and pork industries in Virginia they should have been getting a long time ago.

Paul H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.