Pork prices soar due to shortage caused by virus as barbecue season approaches

The cost of pork is up 45 percent since the beginning of the year according the Chicago Board of Trade
By JC Sevcik  |  April 7, 2014 at 9:09 PM
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NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) -- The porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, first detected in the United States in May 2013, is now active in 27 states.

PED causes vomiting and diarrhea in adult pigs and is fatal in piglets.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), the contagious virus is not transmissible to humans and poses no threat to food safety.

China has temporarily closed it’s borders to American pork products, fearing contamination of its own livestock with PED.

Fear that PED will cause a shortage of pork products during barbecue season has caused the price of the other white meat to jump more than 45 percent since the beginning of the year, based on the Chicago Board of Trade.

However, hog analysts note several factors will affect the cost of the meat. Lower corn prices means fatter hogs, since farmers can afford to feed them more, which means more meat. Combined with China’s refusal of American pork products, which means less meat shipped overseas, this could offset the anticipated shortage.

In addition, the price of other meats in comparison to pork may drive consumers to choose alternative proteins, leaving the shelves stocked with plenty of pig, so don’t cancel your cook out just yet.

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