For Immediate Release

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Patty Lovera or Erin Greenfield
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Food & Water Watch Urges Investigation of Swine Flu and Link to Industrialized Pork Production

WASHINGTON - Today, amid increasing international concern about the global swine flu
outbreak, Food & Water Watch urged leaders of the U.S. Senate and
House agriculture and health committees to investigate the serious
human health problems caused by industrialized pork production. The
national consumer advocacy organization submitted a letter to Chairman
Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman Henry
Waxman (D-CA) and Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), asking their
respective committees to hold hearings examining the source of the
swine flu virus, the pathway for transmission between hogs and humans,
and the conditions inside factory farms that could foster the growth
and mutation of the influenza virus into more virulent strains. 

"Factory
farms have a long track record of maximizing volume and profit at the
cost of human health and safe food," said Wenonah Hauter, Food &
Water Watch executive director. "The swine flu outbreak is
unfortunately just the latest example of the negative public health
impacts from intensive pork production."

Food & Water
Watch warned of other potential threats to human health, including the
discovery at U.S. hog facilities of Methicillin-Resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - the difficult to treat staph infection -
and antibiotic-resistant E. coli on operations using non-therapeutic antibiotics.  

"The
public health issues of disease transmission, antibiotic resistant
bacteria and worker health are critically important to rural
communities, workers, and consumers and any research into these issues
must be done in a way that is independent of any industry pressure,"
said Hauter in the letter. "Congress needs to prioritize these topics
for credible research that is funded and performed by public entities,
not the pork industry or its trade associations."

To view Food & Water Watch's letter, please visit: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/swine-flu-letter

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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