Testing

New York Times has a good article out on the source of the Swine Flu, which is slipping away day by day. They critic the tests done on Smithfield farms by the government, while noting that a team from the National Autonomous University of Mexico is doing its own investigation of industrial hog farming in his state. The study should take months. UNAM is an extremely independent authority, but it remains to be seen if they will have the access, and test samples they need to do any kind of conclusive testing.

In May, the Mexican government said it had tested pigs on the Veracruz farms and found them free of the virus. Smithfield Foods, an owner of the farms, and the National Pork Producers Council, the industry’s lobbying arm, were quick to publicize that announcement.But outside veterinary experts still disagree on whether those tests proved anything. According to Smithfield, Mexican government veterinarians tested snout swabs taken on April 30 and blood samples stored since January. But since the human outbreak in Veracruz is believed to have started in February, many veterinary experts said testing pig snouts for live virus in April proved nothing. Any pig sick in February would have long since recovered and, since hogs are usually slaughtered at 6 months old, many of those alive in early February would be bacon by April.

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