The Wisconsin Pork Producers Association wants everyone to drop the label "Swine Flu" when talking about the current outbreak of a new type of influenza around the globe.
Tammy Vaasenn, Director of Operations for the Association, says it's an unfortunate choice of words because there's no indication a pig gave the virus to a human. She says the "Swine Flu" term is a bit misleading and could impact sales of pork products, even though there's no connection between the virus and pork.
Farm groups and animal health organizations are offering some alternative names; the top recommendations being 'North American influenza' or 'Hybrid Influenza,' because the strain in question contains elements of human, avian and swine flu.
Vaassen says consumer feedback so far has been positive and people seem to be getting the message that the virus isn't spread through pork products. Still, the market is still taking a hit with future and cash prices dropping over the past few days. She says that's hard for producers to handle, after over a year of red ink already.
While most of the media reports have focused on the risk to humans, pork producers have also been put on alert, and asked to be vigilant. Vaasenn says they've been asked to review bio-security plans to prevent any disease from coming into swine herds. The virus has not been detected in any of the U.S. swine herd.