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South Korea Lifts Live Hog Import Ban

South Korea said Aug. 11 it would resume imports of live swine from North America, lifting a ban imposed since the outbreak of H1N1 flu in April.

South Korea is one of several countries including Russia and China that slapped bans on imports of pork products or live hogs on flu fears, which has hit the industry hard as consumers shy away from pork even though health officials say the virus, originally known as swine flu, is not linked to meat products.

Seoul’s Farm Ministry said in a statement it would allow the resumption of live hog imports from the United States, Canada and Mexico Aug. 12 while stepping up quarantine checks.

Live hog imports from the North American countries amounted to 1,562 last year before falling to 102 this year.

In July, Russia partly lifted its ban on Canadian pork, easing one of the major trade impediments straining Canada’s pork industry.

The H1N1 flu outbreak, declared a pandemic on June 11, has spread around the world and could eventually affect two billion people, according to WHO estimates.

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