Call It ‘North American Flu,’ Meat Industry Says

By Susan Jones | April 28, 2009 | 10:28 AM EDT

(AP Photo)

( – Don’t call it “swine flu,” says the American Meat Institute. A more accurate name for the headline illness is “North American flu,” and that’s what the media should be calling it, the group argues.
"According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), North American Flu is a more accurate description of the virus that has affected people in North America," said American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle.
Boyle quoted from an OIE press release, which read: "The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza. In the past, many human influenza epidemics with animal origin have been named using their geographic name, e.g. Spanish influenza or Asiatic influenza, thus it would be logical to call this disease 'North-American influenza.'"
Boyle stressed that eating pork is safe: "Public health officials, including those from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, have made clear that pork is not a source of influenza. Consumers can continue to enjoy pork with confidence.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexican authorities have traced the outbreak to a four-year-old boy who lives near a pig farm in Veracruz State on Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

The company that owns the pig farm issued a statement Monday noting that none of its employees have come down with the flu.