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Pork still safe to eat says Premier Wynne

cpt115159810_highOntario has confirmed a second case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) and a third is under investigation. Both are in the Chatham-Kent region.

PED is usually fatal for very young pigs while older pigs can recover. The virus does not affect food safety, nor is it a risk to human health or other animals. Pork remains a safe choice for consumers to eat.

“Pork remains a safe choice for consumers. Ontario farmers always roll up their sleeves and find ways to overcome obstacles, be it fluctuations in weather, or a disease like PED. And our government is here to help”, said Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food.

After PED began circulating in the U.S. last year, the province and the pork industry worked together to implement extensive education programs to increase awareness of the disease and promote biosecurity protocols. Since the virus is highly contagious, its presence in Canada is not unexpected and more cases are expected in the coming days and weeks.

“I understand this is a challenging time for Ontario’s pork industry. In concert with Ontario Pork, my office is reviewing our mitigation strategies to ensure we have the right tools to limit the spread of PED”, said Dr. Greg Douglas, Chief Veterinarian for Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) continues to work closely with the affected producers, the pork industry, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to deal with this new challenge and ensure mitigation strategies are implemented. Short and long-term actions that involve all parts of the industry are being undertaken to stop the spread of the virus.

All those involved in the swine industry are encouraged to maintain strict biosecurity protocols and contact a veterinarian immediately if they see animals showing signs of illness. Under Ontario’s Animal Health Act, 2009, veterinarians are required to immediately report any findings that identify a serious risk to animal health.

“Now that a second case of PED has been confirmed in the province, the scope and urgency of our efforts have changed significantly. After observing the devastating impact of the virus in the U.S. pork industry, we know an immediate collaborative response is required by all partners of the value chain including government. We are dedicated to putting a strategy and measures in place that will aid in the containment of PED virus”, said Amy Cronin, Chair, Ontario Pork.

After circulating widely in Europe and Asia, the virus was first seen in the U.S. in April 2013 and is now known to be in at least 23 states. Canada’s first case was identified last week in Middlesex County.