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Mysterious Pork Disease Driving Up Bacon Prices

 
Posted April 14th, 2014 @ 11:52am

Call it The Porkolypse!

 

  The price of bacon on that bacon and cheeseburger is about to get more expensive, due to a never before seen virus that is killing baby pigs in Texas.

 

  "Just a small amount of this virus, like a thimble size, is enough to infect thousands of baby pigs," Brandon Gunn, who heads the Texas Pork Producers Association, tells 1200 WOAI news.

 

  The virus has killed millions of pigs in less than a year, and nobody is sure exactly how it spreads or even where it came from.

 

  But we know what its doing.  Pork prices are shooting skyward, with the price of a pound of bacon already selling for 13% more than one year ago.

 

  "Competitive pricing rules when you go to the grocery store," Gunn said.  "If the numbers are short that is going to drive up the price, and we are beginning to see it."

  It's the same supply and demand rules which have driven beef prices to their highest levels ever.  The supply of cattle dropped off with the Texas drought of 2011 and has yet to recover.  This is doing the same thing to pork producers.

 

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the nation's pork herd is down 3 million since the disease emerged last November.

 

  The virus, called PED, manifests itself in epidemic diarrhea in young pigs which leads to death. 

 

  The virus is also effecting the lucrative pork export market, with several countries, including China, now demanding proof that pigs being imported are free of PED.

 

  Universities and the federal government are aggressively attacking the disease, to prevent an entire generation of piglets from being wiped out.

 

 

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