U.S. Customs and Border (CBP) agriculture specialists intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China between April 6 to June 6.
Specialists assigned to the ports of Los Angeles, Calif., and Long Beach, Calif., discovered the products commingled in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats, CBP reports.
CBP specialists seized 12 shipments containing a total of 834 cartons which lacked the required USDA entry documentation. According to CBP, in the first five months of fiscal year 2020, the interception of prohibited meats from China at the LA/Long Beach Seaport has increased 70% compared with the same period the year before.
The U.S. pork industry is on high alert to keep pork products from African swine fever (ASF)-affected countries out of U.S. borders. Pork products are capable of introducing the ASF virus to the U.S. This would devastate the U.S. pork industry and its export market as ASF is deadly virus of pigs that currently does not have a cure or treatment.
Not only is China currently fighting ASF, but they also have Classical Swine Fever (CSF), Newcastle Disease (ND), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD).
“Our close collaboration with our USDA strategic partners has resulted in an increased number of prohibited food products interceptions in a relatively short period of time,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles in a release. “CBP agriculture specialists remain committed and vigilant of foreign animal disease threats.”
Chinese animal products are in high demand in certain areas of the U.S. The products are smuggled in and later sold in markets. Many consumers are not aware of the importation restrictions, CBP said.
When unmanifiested animal products are found, the violation is reported to the USDA and CBP issues an emergency action for the expedited destruction of the contraband.
In May, USDA updated its ASF response plan.
For more information about ASF: