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Ritz Chastises Media Over H1N1


June 25, 2009
By Canadian Poultry

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Ritz Chastises Media Over H1N1
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has released an
op-ed to media asking them to "call the flu H1N1 because the swine are fine."

June 25, 2009 – Federal
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has released an op-ed to media asking
them to "call the flu H1N1 because the swine are fine."

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The following is Minister Ritz's op-ed released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:

When Canadian families go to the grocery store they can be confident about putting Canadian pork in their shopping carts because they know it is safe.
 
Unfortunately, the challenges facing our farm families in the pork industry are being compounded because some Canadian media outlets continue to use inaccurate and unclear terminology when reporting on the H1NI influenza virus.
 
Clarity and accuracy are the hallmarks of good journalism so it is frustrating for Canadian hog farmers to see reporters continue to use the incorrect and inaccurate term "swine flu."
 
Canadians know and understand the term H1N1 influenza. International scientific authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), refer to this virus as H1N1 influenza and have clearly stated that properly cooked pork is safe. When Canadians are talking about it around the water cooler they refer to the virus as H1N1. This virus is called H1N1 influenza because that is its name.
 
Canadian hog farmers already have enough problems on their plate with international market instability and volatile currency exchange rates. The last thing they need is completely unnecessary misconceptions created by unclear and inaccurate media reports. I have one simple request for responsible reporters across Canada: when you are reporting on H1N1 influenza, please use the proper name. Canadians will appreciate the clarity and accuracy and so will Canadian hog farmers.