The U.S. suspended pork imports from Poland on Thursday after an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in that country and concerns over export protocols.
In a routine review of ongoing operations, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service discovered that one Polish facility exporting pork to the U.S. did not follow requirements designed to prevent the spread of serious livestock diseases. A second Polish facility is also being reviewed, according to USDA.
“The goal of our review is to ensure consistency with the stringent, longstanding safeguards in place that protect U.S. animal health from ASF,” the agency said in a release. “USDA uses a strong series of interlocking protections against the entry of animal diseases like ASF, including restricting the entry of pork and pork products from ASF-affected countries or regions.”
As ASF continues to spread rapidly across eastern Europe and China, efforts to keep the highly contagious disease out of the U.S. continue to increase.
The USDA is also working with Customs and Border Protection staff to enhance screening of passenger bags coming from Poland, the notice said. The checks aim to ensure restricted products are not brought into the country.
African swine fever has not yet been detected in North America. The disease is highly contagious among domestic and feral pigs, but poses no human health risk.