A Smithfield Foods’ Mexico operation may be “ground zero” for the origination of Mexico’s swine flu, according to Fox News. Smithfield denies that their facility is the cause of the contaminate, and it is important to note that health officials have confirmed only one case of swine flu in the town where the pig farm is located, and have found no infection at the Smithfield farm. See photos and a video below.

Pigs 30

Swine Flu Pig Farms

La Gloria, Mexico located in Perote Municipality, State of Veracruz, is home to a huge hog farm owned by a Smithfield Farms subsidiary. Fox is reporting eight pig farms in the area with Smithfield partial ownership. Here is the Fox report. The La Gloria Smithfield Mexico pig farm reportedly raises 950,000 hogs per year. It appears the outbreak of swine flu may have originated in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000. Health officials there recorded over 400 cases of a “strange” outbreak of acute respiratory infection in La Gloria in a one week time period around April 6, 2009. A local official said he has been “seeking health assistance” for the residents of La Gloria since February. Approximately 1,800 cases, or 60 percent of the town’s population has been affected by the swine flu, or swine flu-like symptoms. Again, Right Pundits wants to make it clear that we have no confirmation that the flu in La Gloria is actually swine flu.

Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the Smithfield denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to “flu.” However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms. It was unclear whether health officials had identified a suspected pathogen responsible for this outbreak.

Granja Carroll is a Smithfield Mexico subsidiary pig farm. Smithfield Foods’ U.S. headquarters are in Smithfield, Virginia. Grist Magazine’s Tom Philpott browsed Mexican media and roughly translated a few reports. While neither Mr. Philpott or I can guarantee this information to be complete and accurate, it is interesting to hear the comments of residents. Here a portion of Philpott’s translation of a report in La Marcha, a Vera Cruz newspaper:

My rough translation: According to one community resident, the organic and fecal waste produced by Granjas Carrol isn’t adequately treated, creating water and air pollution in the region…area residents have long complained of “fetid odors” in the air and water, and swarms of flies hovering around waste lagoons. Now, with 30 percent of the area’s residents now infected with the virulent flu bug, people are demanding that state and federal authorities inspect hog operations there. So far, reports La Marcha, the response has been: nada.

The Mexico City daily La Jornada has also made the link. According to the newspaper, the Mexican health agency IMSS has acknowledged that the original carrier for the flu could be the “clouds of flies” that multiply in the Smithfield subsidiary’s manure lagoons.

At the time Tom Philpott wrote the Grist report, he found no U.S. media reports on a possible Smithfield Mexico pig farm link. Today’s, Fox swine flu report appears to be the first national media report with a possible Smithfield link.

Pigs 3 1Pigs 25 1Pigs 26 1Pigs 31 1

Swine Flu (Photos)

Pig Farm (Video)

Swine Flu (Video)