Oklahoma pork producers are on alert

BY JENNIFER PALMER Published: April 28, 2009
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Pork producers, including Seaboard Foods, which operates a hog-processing plant in Guymon, are taking precautions in light of a swine influenza outbreak.

Herds are monitored closely for flu symptoms and extra biosecurity measures are in place at the Guymon plant, including not allowing unnecessary people onto farms, said David Earheart, Seaboard spokesman.

Nothing indicates that U.S. swine have been infected with this virus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The director of health assurance for Seaboard Foods also reports finding no evidence of this particular virus in the Seaboard Foods live production system.

The virus is spread human to human, not by eating pork products.

"Pork is still safe to eat,” Earheart said.

Seaboard Foods, based in Shawnee Mission, Kan., on Monday assured its customers that their pork products are safe when they are handled and cooked properly.

Swine flu is not an agricultural issue — it’s a human health issue, said Jack Carson, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Hogs are routinely monitored for cases of influenza.



Travel to Mexico is discouraged
Americans Monday were advised to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico because of a swine flu outbreak that appears to have originated there, the head of the Centers for Disease Control said.

Because Oklahoma City does not receive international flights, it is unlikely that operations at Will Rogers World Airport will be effected, said Mark Kranenburg, director of airports for Oklahoma City.

Kranenburg said he has talked with county health department officials about possibly getting signs for the ticket counters and gate areas that will advise passengers what to do if they feel sick.

Frontier Airlines was waiving some fees for travelers who already purchased tickets to Cancun, Cozumel, San Jose del Cabo or Puerto Vallarta who wished to alter their travel plans. For more information, go to www.frontierairlines.com.

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