Life's unfair: It's called swine flu, but no pigs are sick

Pork producers in hog-heavy Missouri and across the continent recoiled Tuesday at a name that has stuck.

Officialdom can say "North American flu" or the catchy H1N1 all it wants, but the term "swine flu" hangs on like mud on a snout — kicking up trade embargoes and an unfounded fear of pork chops.

China, Russia and eight smaller countries slammed shut their borders to imports of pork from much of Mexico and the United States.

The bans fed a drop in contracts on hogs, yanking prices down almost 20 percent in two days.

And critics of large-scale raising of livestock and poultry are pointing to a pig-breeding farm in the Veracruz Mountains as a possible Petri dish where the new flu was concocted.

Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, part owner of the Mexican farm, emphatically denied that.

Through it all, the $15 billion pork industry was confounded at how something that has yet to be detected in a single pig anywhere in the world was dubbed swine flu, and why people would turn on their product so irrationally.

"Pork is safe to eat," the Missouri Pork Association headlined a statement Tuesday.

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