Aussies reassured on pork supply safety

Aug. 1, 2009 at 2:44 PM
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SYDNEY, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees says Australia's pork supply is safe even though a production facility was closed after 200 pigs tested positive for flu.

Rees emphasized there is no danger of humans contracting the H1N1 virus from eating pork after agricultural officials closed a pig farm in the state's central-west region. The herd tested positive for the AH1 virus strain, a different form of the flu affecting humans, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"I want to stress that it is safe to eat pork and pork products," NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald told reporters. "Our pork industry is among the most biosecure in the world. Only healthy pigs are sent for slaughter at abattoirs in Australia."

Meanwhile. the swine flu epidemic forced the closure of Bellingen Hospital Saturday, the newspaper reported.

Margaret Bennett of the NSW Health Department's Coffs-Clarence Network, told the Herald the hospital was shuttered after seven staffers had come down with flu symptoms since a patient tested positive July 24. Health officials say 21,668 Australians have contracted swine flu, of whom 61 have died.

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