To show support for a struggling U.S. pork industry, which has weathered two years of economic hardship and put some producers out of business, a northern Iowa swine veterinary consulting clinic has kicked off “Pork Week.”

Suidae Health & Production reminds that the recent misnaming of the novel H1N1 flu as “swine flu” has compounded the situation – making U.S. and foreign countries that import pork “fearful of eating this safe and healthy meat.”

The Algona, IA, clinic points out that the novel H1N1 flu virus hasn’t been detected in any U.S. swine herds, but if it were, pork would still be safe to eat.

“Studies have consistently proved what we already knew…flu virus is not transmissible by eating pork or pork products. We need to showcase pork for consumers and be proud of the nutritious, great-tasting product that our clients help to produce,” the news release said.

To support the pork industry, Suidae employees have agreed to eat pork every night for a week. The clinic is providing every employee with pork, a recipe, grocery list and suggested side dishes.

By promoting an evening meal, the Suidae clinic hopes to renew the interest in serving pork and to promote family values. Some of the recipes Suidae employees are enjoying during the week include: bacon/lettuce/tomato wraps, maple-pepper chops with sizzling applesauce, mushroom-stuffed pork burgers, spicy sausage spaghetti and barbecue pork sandwiches. Pork is a good buy because it is leaner than chicken breast, thanks to production improvements and changes in genetics, feed and management practices.

“With more than 8,000 hog farms, thousands of Iowans are making their living raising hogs,” the news release said. “Iowa is the top pork-producing state, with approximately 25 million hogs or more raised each year. That amounts to 27% or more of the nation’s hogs.”

In addition:

--The Iowa pork industry contributes nearly $12 billion to the Iowa economy every year.

--The Iowa pork industry creates more than 63,000 jobs for Iowans.

--Veterinarians, truck drivers, feed suppliers, equipment manufacturers, meat managers and others all work closely with pork producers.

“We can make a difference and we need to eat more pork,” the news release urged. “Challenge yourself and your family to eat pork every day for a week. Not only does pork taste great, but you can encourage more family time by preparing the meal together and sitting down around the table to enjoy it with each other. Together, we can make a difference!”

For more information about the pork industry, visit www.nppc.org, www.iowapork.org, and for terrific recipes, visit www.TheOtherWhiteMeat.com.