US border agents seize 1 million pounds of pork from China

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seized approximately 1 million pounds of pork products from China at the port in Newark, New Jersey, according to reports.

Dan Prat | iStockPhoto.com
Dan Prat | iStockPhoto.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents seized approximately 1 million pounds of pork products from China at the port in Newark, New Jersey, according to reports.

The largest-ever seizure of agricultural products comes amid outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) that have occurred across China since August 2018. Although ASF does not affect humans, it is highly contagious and deadly among pigs, cannot be cured and has no vaccine. ASF has been spreading throughout pig farms and wild boar in China and parts of Europe since last summer, and has resulted in the death or culling of hundreds of thousands of pigs. Vietnam recently confirmed its first case.

A CBP spokesman told Reuters in a report that the investigation is ongoing and did not say if the seized products tested positive for the ASF virus. CBP is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the investigation.

Bloomberg reported that the pork products arrived in more than 50 shipping containers throughout the past few weeks, hidden in containers of ramen noodles and laundry detergent.

This month, the USDA said it was taking additional steps to keep ASF from entering the U.S., including:

  • Working with CBP to train and add 60 additional beagle teams for a total of 179 teams working at key U.S. commercial, sea and air ports
  • Coordinating with CBP on the further expansion of arrival screenings at key U.S. commercial sea and air ports – including checking cargo for illegal pork/pork products and ensuring travelers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection
  • Increasing inspections and enforcement of garbage feeding facilities to ensure fed garbage is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread
  • Heightening producer awareness and encourage self-evaluations of on-farm biosecurity procedures
  • Working to develop accurate and reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives, and swine oral fluid samples
  • Working closely with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response and trade maintenance
  • Continuing high-level coordination with the U.S. pork industry leadership to assure unified efforts to combat ASF introduction

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

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