The multinational meat processing company which produces WeightWatchers branded pork products in the UK has rebutted claims its Mexican pig farm may be the source of the global swine flu outbreak.
Smithfield Foods has been named by villagers in La Gloria, Mexico, where the first human cases were recorded, as a possible source of the outbreak, according to reports.
However, Smithfield Foods has issued a statement saying it has “found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza at the company’s swine herd or its employees at in joint ventures in Mexico”.
Over 100 people have died after contracting the virus in Mexico, a new strain of H1N1 known as swine or pig flu. It has since spread to the US and Europe.
A 23-month-old child is suspected to have died after contracting the bug in Texas – the first known fatality outside of Mexico.
Governments around the world are rolling out public health programs designed to stem the spread of the flu, which is the first variation of the bug which caused the last global pandemic in 1918.
The outbreak has hit airline and travel companies, with shares falling in British Airways and Carnival Group Cruises, and there is concern that the pork industry may also suffer.