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China bans pork imports from Alberta

BEIJING, May 4 – China has banned hog and pork product imports from the Canadian province of Alberta after pigs from a herd there tested positive for the H1N1 swine flu virus, the Chinese government said.

The decision was made in order to "protect the security of China\’s animal husbandry and the health of its people," the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its website late Sunday.

The announcement came a day after Canadian health authorities said H1N1 flu virus had been found in a swine herd in Alberta.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency insisted that Canadian pork was still safe, and that the animals had likely contracted the disease from a Canadian who had recently returned from Mexico.

China last week banned pork imports from Mexico and the US states of Texas, Kansas and California.

China, the world\’s largest consumer of pork, has so far not reported any confirmed or even probable cases of H1N1.

Four international organisations Saturday denounced boycotts of pork over fears the meat could be a means of spreading H1N1, saying there was no evidence it was a source of infection.

"To date there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food," the World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Trade Organisation and World Organisation for Animal Health said in a statement.

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