Iowa’s pork industry suffered a major blow Tuesday as the United States Department of Agriculture says China has banned pork imports from Iowa. U.S.D.A. officials say China gave no reason for the ban — but it’s most likely linked to the H1N1 virus, otherwise know as the swine flu.

Ron Birkenholz of the Iowa Pork Producers Association says China’s move is a heavy blow. “It hurts an already struggling industry. This whole virus situation has really caused a lot of undo stress and strain on the industry. It’s dropped the prices and it’s unfortunate because it’s not fair. There’s no virus in the pigs. The pork is safe to eat,” Birkenholz says.

Iowa joins 35 others states that are banned from selling pork to China, which Birkenholz says is a major blow to the state’s pork industry. Birkenholz says, ” China has become one of our top export markets for U.S. and Iowa pork and China is evidently joining several other countries who’ve opted to ban the import of U.S. pork now and it’s unfortunate because still there’s been no virus found in any U.S. pigs.”

Birkenholz says it’s too early to know the extent of the economic blow. Russia, the Philippines and Thailand have also banned Iowa pork.