Swine Flu not an excuse for blocking trade
Monday, April 27, 2009
Undoubtedly today's main health story concerns the outbreak of swine flu, suspected to have killed over a hundred people in Mexico.
Sadly this serious health concern is already being used to block perfectly legitimate trade.
News agency Bloomberg reports that the Russian government has blocked all imports of meat from Mexico and some US states, while pork from other countries in the region (Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Salvador) is now also banned.
While this might seem reasonable at first, note that the World Health Organization clearly states that the virus cannot be transmitted through well-prepared food.
The WHO confirms that the virus dies at 70 degrees celsius.
The Russian government's reactionary measures are the kind that imbed people in poverty throughout the world, furthering the spread of diseases like swine-flu.
As explained by Indur Goklany, free trade is crucial for economic growth and technological development, both of which combine to improve prosperity and health outcomes.