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Mexico restricts U.S. live pork imports due to piglet virus

Source: Reuters - Tue, 25 Jun 2013 08:55 PM
Author: Reuters
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(Updates with USDA live pork export data, Mexico import data)

June 25 (Reuters) - Mexico said on Tuesday it has restricted live pork imports from the United States, citing an outbreak of a deadly piglet virus that has spread north of the border.

Mexico's Agriculture Ministry said it would review imports on a case by case basis, and said it had not detected the virus in Mexico.

"The Agriculture Ministry has taken several measures to protect the Mexican pork-rearing industry and to prevent this illness from entering the country," it said.

It added that pigs imported from the United States prior to May 17 would be quarantined and closely observed. It is checking all lots of pigs imported from the United States during the past three months.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the United States exported 26,793 live hogs to Mexico in 2012, which was a 206 percent increase over a year earlier.

U.S. livestock producers exported 3,758 hogs to Mexico for the first four months of this year, a 34 percent drop from a year earlier.

Mexican economy ministry data shows Mexico imported 28,624 live pure breed hogs from the United States in 2012, worth $8.65 million.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, a swine virus deadly to young pigs, and never before seen in North America, has spiked to 199 sites in 13 states in the United States.

Most often fatal to very young pigs, the virus causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. It also sickens older hogs, though their survival rate tends to be high.

However, the virus does not pose a health risk to humans or other animals and the meat from infected pigs is safe for people to eat, according to federal officials in the United States and livestock economists. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera in Mexico City and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Diane Craft)

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