Facing South

Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

hog_farm.jpgGrist Magazine online has a must-read story by North Carolina-based food editor Tom Philpott examining a possible link between the outbreak of swine flu and Smithfield Foods of Virginia, the world's largest pork producer and processor.

Forty cases of the disease have been confirmed so far in the United States, including two cases in Texas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The outbreak of this particular strain of flu, which is caused by virus found in pigs, originated in the Mexican state of Veracruz, where Smithfield subsidiary Granjas Carroll raises about a million hogs a year, Philpott reports.

He points to a timeline of the outbreak on the blog Biosurveillance that documents a "respiratory disease outbreak" in the small Veracruz town of La Gloria, where about 60% of the population of about 3,000 has been affected by what's been characterized as a "strange" outbreak of acute respiratory infection leading to some cases of bronchial pneumonia. According to Biosurveillance:

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 company 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.

Philpott notes that the Mexico City daily La Jornada has reported on the possible connection between the flu outbreak and Smithfield's operations, noting that a Mexican health agency has acknowledged that the original carrier of the disease may have been the flies that breed in the company's hog waste lagoons.

The swine flu outbreak has led to a drop in Smithfield's stock prices, with analysts increasing their loss estimates for that company has well as Arkansas-based Tyson Foods due to consumer concerns about pork.

(Photo of an industrial hog farm from the Environmental Protection Agency)



People Referenced:


re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Does anyone think that the Mexican "authorities" as replete with corruption as they are, will ever allow a large corporation to take the blame for this outbreak? We will never knkow the truth from Mexico's administration, friends of Bush & Co.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

after 8 years of Bush family control of the federal health establishment the corruption is north of the border too

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Probably genetically modified pigs too!

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Bush bashing idiots never quit. We've heard the song. Enough already.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

How does Bush bashing come into play here? This is on Obama's watch but I don't blame him either on this issue. The Mexicans have control over the own sovereignty, no matter how corrupt. Quit thinking in the past, we have Change Now!


re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

It really no longer matters who or what...the problem we are faced with now are very uneducated people of the world about disease and the invinceability that this type of disease occurs only in third world countrys...look at the newletters this smithfield company generated the worlds largest EPA fine in history and that was way back in 2006 they knew what this company was us to...however as long as it was done in a country like mexico we didnt care because we are USA we are divine from disease we have the best medicine it cant happen to us....But GOD says differently wake up and repent people its here and its coming

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

change,thats what say,maybe it is more change than you can handle.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Well if George Bush is to blame for the swine flu, then Clinton is to blame for 9/11. It was under his watch that the terrorists were able to sneak into the country.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

And what is the illustrious change agent Obama doing about this?? He, other responsible government officials, and the founder of Smithfield Farms should be hog tied and left in one of Smithfield's thousands of hog farm barns for at least 24 hours. They would never survive. What deserved justice that would be for them and their counterparts who worship money and ignore justice/doing what's right.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

You don't have to go south of the border to find corruption. Wake up. What is the illustrious Obama and his "team" of idiots doing about this? He's doing nothing. Let them all swim in pig shit, I say. That would wake them up. You too. Smithfield Farms is A USA COMPANY, and our country has allowed the company and its founder to commit far more pollution in our country than in Mexico.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

flu's mutate and have since the begginning of time. Only a bunch of mindless idiots would continue to blame corporations and governments for a natural evolution of a virus. Grow up, get jobs and contribute to society rather than sitting around dreaming up ridiculous conspiracy theories

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Patient Zero - linked to Smithfield Foods.


re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

People are dying. Who cares who is to "blame" if anyone is.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

I'm not surprised that the pork lobby is furiously trying to get the name "swine flu" changed to H1N1 virus.

While it's true that "eating pork" isn't the cause of swine flu, many experts believe producing pork, is and that swine flu and avian flu are both direct products of intensive factory farming. The warehousing of billions of chickens and pigs in cramped quarters, feeding them massive doses of antibiotics and hormones -- a perfect breeding ground for these deadly viruses.

Dr. Robert Webster, one of the world’s leading experts of flu virus evolution, blames the emergence of the 1998 virus on factory farming methods. Many other scientists agree.

But factory farmers get a free ticket from government and the media who allow the powerful pork lobby to dictate policy and now, even demand that we change the name of swine flu to something else. But trying to change the name is simply a diversion from the real issue and factory farm lobbies know this.

It's time to get the special interest lobbies and mega-corporations who are polluting our environment and creating dangerous viruses --out of our lives!! The dollar is not the be-all and end-all and the government and media needs to quit caving to the powerful Washington lobbies!

Here is a Humane Society report.


And a fun article about Smithfield Pork in Rolling Stone Magazine.

Check out the cover photo here:


re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Oh, are we hearing from the pork lobby or Joseph Luter here? Everyone here is entitled to their opinions without being insulted by arrogant know-it-all's like you. Shut up and go back to your great job of contributing to society. Of course you're right that no one else in this forum is doing that except you. omg, fool.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

People here are asking "Why place blame?" It depends on the lessons learned and the action taken once responsibility is assigned. If blame is erroneously place, nothing good can come of it. The hope is we would learn how this got loose and be able to stop it from happening again in the future. It isn't Bush's fault. It isn't Obama's fault. So please drop those futile and hurtful arguments. They accomplish nothing of value.

There does certainly seems to be a correlation between the Smithfield farms plant and the outbreak. Now, correlation is not proof of causation, but it sure does point the finger there. We will probably never know if it was indeed the pig farm there or not, because the corruption is rampant. Maybe if people weren't out for blood in such a case a brave person from the plant might be able to get a sample to a lab where the results couldn't be tampered with. But when people are dying the families understandably cry out for recourse. A pity. If we could find out just what happened we could save lives in the future. I'm not so much interested in seeing Smithfield punished as I am in learning how it started so actions can be taken prevent this from happening again.

Corinne Civish

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

I am a Virginian who is especially interested in it not happening again, AND Smithfield being punished. These Virginia-based corporations keep trying to distance themselves from their actions. Factory farming is also creating toxic runoff that is killing the Chesapeake Bay. Everyone should out the recent PBS documentary 'Poisoned Waters'.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Take a look at the story at this link to learn more about Smithfield Farms and the pig farm in Mexico. Forget about the purported corruption of Mexicans for now. This is an American company that sets up this horrible plant. The problem is that this kind of thing -- a new swine virus strain -- could occur over and over again near this plant. Here's the link:

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

You are all so nieve. Smithfield is an American company. So America is trying to blame Mexico. America is the root of all the worlds evils. America will bring down the rest of the us, AKA the world. Thanks!

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Which one is telling us the truth??


re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

I just watched Food, Inc. about the horrible food processing industry and it mentioned Smithfield Farms a lot. Apparently, the company hired a bunch of illegal aliens and brought them over to work on the east coast for slave labor (basically). Then when immigration got to be a hot topic, the company sold out the employees a few at a time (so as not to affect production) to the police who then arrested them. This company is criminal and should be held accountable for the spread of swine flu and hiring illegal immigrants! After seeing how the company operates, I am convinced this is where the virus that has killed so many originated. Anyone who invests in this company is investing in something that needs to be stopped. It is criminal.

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

The President does NOT run the country & therefore can not SOLVE/PASS/ORDER ANY thing about the 'swine flu' .... I wish you ignorant people would go BACK to SCHOOL and TAKE CIVICS PLEASE,

re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?


Glaxo is just a marketing hand
so who sold that vacc to the whole world carrying seeds of the next pandemic?
What state, what monster?
When failed, getting away to try again?
Like Oklahoma

your comment must be approved by


guess where all the internet monitoring flows to and you guessed where that vaccine maker sits


According to a list compiled by Dr. Patricia Doyle at rense.com, a host of strange ingredients are used to make up Hoffman-La Roche's anti-flu drug Tamiflu, which has recently been connected with bizarre behavior,

Patients using Tamiflu -- which many nations are stocking up on as a way to combat a possible pandemic of the deadly H5N1 bird flu -- reported delirium, hallucinations, delusions, convulsions, disturbed consciousness and abnormal behavior. The FDA reports that side effects reported with Tamiflu include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, stomach pain, dizziness and headache.





re: Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm?

Bush swined his way into office. Pig. And now Obama has to clean up all the manure Bush left behind. So you Bush fans go squeel somewhere-else.