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Published May 01, 2009, 12:00 AM

'Swine' not appropriate name

Southwestern Minnesota pork producers asked local school leaders to watch their wording when discussing the current influenza outbreak.

By: By Scott Wente, State Capitol Bureau, Alexandria Echo Press

ST. PAUL – Southwestern Minnesota pork producers asked local school leaders to watch their wording when discussing the current influenza outbreak.

The producers wrote to school superintendents in recent days urging them not to use the phrase “swine flu” in messages they send to school staff and parents, said Charlie Kyte, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.

Producers are concerned their industry could suffer if people incorrectly assume the influenza strain – technically called the H1N1 strain, but commonly called swine flu — means pork is unsafe to eat. Kyte said the superintendents understood the concern.

“Those are their friends and neighbors,” he said.

The price of pork has dropped in recent days as the number of reported swine flu cases rises, but there is no known danger to eating pork because of the flu strain.

Still, said Senator Amy Klobuchar, a number of countries, including China and Russia, have imposed U.S. pork import bans.

“These countries that are banning U.S. pork are not just misguided, they are just plain wrong, and I think they know it,” she said. “There’s no risk from eating pork.”

Klobuchar serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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