Friday, May 8, 2009

My Message to Country 95.3 (and all other media that continues to refer to H1N1 as "swine flu")

Morning everyone!

This is not really home-related or related to my blog at all, so much as it is a rant about the media's ability to inform Canadian consumers. It is my belief consumers deserve to understand facts, and the media is responsible for portraying news accurately to ensure this happens. H1N1 is a prime example where poor judgement in naming the disease and information in the media led to incorrect, consequential perceptions among consumers.

So, this morning, I took it upon myself to send an email to the radio morning show I listen to while getting ready for work. It read as follows:

Good morning!

I listen every morning when I'm getting ready for work, and it was great to hear you guys back on this morning after your trip south.
I was getting frustrated though by the number of times you referred to H1N1 as "swine flu". I realize you have been away, but the name has officially been changed to H1N1.

Canada's pork industry has been faced with phenomenal hardships in the past year, and the initial, unfortunate naming of H1N1 as "swine flu" was yet another incredible blow to their business and industry. It led to mass confusion as consumers thought it could be caught from eating pork. Of course, this is not true as it is a viral disease.

The media needs to deliver an accurate message to Canadian consumers if the gap between 'farm to fork' is ever to be bridged, particularly in the GTA where this divide is larger than anywhere else. Please consider using the term H1N1 on the air. Canadian farmers thank you.

Proud dairy farmer, agriculture advocate and marketer

There have been numerous occasions I have been tempted to send my comments, concerns or thoughts to radio stations. I think its a testament to how good their show is if they can generate enough emotion in their listeners to engage them for a response.

Interestingly enough, I did not become overwhelmed with frustration. I just knew I had to address the oversight. I am passionate about accurately-informed consumers. It was my small duty for today in the ongoing challenge to inform Canada about where their food comes from.

What can you do today to fuel your passion? Happy Friday!


  1. Here is the response I recieved back:

    Good morning Jennifer,

    We are aware that there is a transition in progress however, Swine Flu it is still very much part of the popular vernacular. We were using both H1N1 and swine flu in reference this morning by way of transition and in no way have we suggested that the H1N1 virus can be contracted through eating pork. In fact we have, specifically, made the opposite quite clear (during talk of the virus previous to our week in the Dominican.)

    Thanks so much for your email.

  2. Good job Jen! You tell them!

  3. Good for you for writing them! I also HATE when the media twists things to make a better "tag line" rather then reporting the FACTS.