MILWAUKEE – A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 per cent or more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says a pound of bacon averaged $5.46 in February. That’s 13 per cent more than a year ago. Ham and chops have gone up too, although not as much.
Scientists believe porcine epidemic diarrhea came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the United States.
Agricultural economist Steve Meyer estimates the virus has killed nearly 6.8 million pigs in 27 states since last May. Meyer says Americans expect cheap food, but PED has shown how much an outbreak can cost and how important disease prevention is to the food supply.