Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel for International Affairs for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), recently traveled to Australia and New Zealand to meet with United States and foreign government officials and industry representatives to discuss restrictions on U.S. pork due to unscientific concerns for the transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

The court system in New Zealand currently is reviewing a government import health standard that allows for the importation of consumer-ready pork from the United States. Giordano, who was joined by Kansas State University PRRS expert Bob Rowland, argued that PRRS is not a food-safety issue and does not pose a risk to human health.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) does not include the trading of pork as a risk of spreading PRRS. The OIE emphasizes that the main risk of spreading PRRS is through trade in live animals and semen and does not list measures to control pork trade in its recommendations on prevention and control of the disease.

The legal importation of fresh, chilled and frozen pork from PRRS-endemic countries never has resulted in any outbreak of PRRS in countries that are known to be PRRS-free.

NPPC said New Zealand and Australia should remove all PRRS-related restrictions for full and open access for U.S. pork and pork products as a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.