Chinese pork consumption affected by H1N1

by Editor
Monday, September 07, 2009

Nearly two-thirds of China’s consumers stopped eating pork in the early stages of the H1N1 influenza outbreak this year, and more than one in five consumers in the world’s largest pork market still believe that eating pork can result in catching the flu virus, according to a survey of 1,200 Chinese consumers by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Speaking to the Fifth International Meat Secretariat (IMS) World Conference in Qingdao, China, on Thursday, Sept. 3, Joel Haggard, senior vice president Asia-Pacific for USMEF, told the more than 600 global pork industry executives in attendance that China – both the world’s largest pork producer and consumer – may have been more affected by the H1N1 virus outbreak than previously suspected.

Even now, months after the initial outbreak, 21.2 percent of those surveyed still believe that eating pork can lead to catching the H1N1 virus. Despite efforts by the Chinese government to educate consumers regarding the safety of pork, 54.7 percent of those who fear the connection between pork and the flu virus say that it is because the virus has been labeled “swine flu”.