US proposes relaxing restrictions on Mexican pork

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The proposed rule could result in pork being imported from a greater number of Mexican states
The proposed rule could result in pork being imported from a greater number of Mexican states

Related tags: Mexico, Pork

The United States is proposing to relax the restrictions on pork imported from Mexico, which is deemed to be from areas at low risk of classical swine fever (CSF).

The proposed rule, by the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) has been published in the Federal Register and would see low-risk areas defined in order to allow the import of pork and pork products under certain conditions.

The average value of US imports of pork and pork products from Mexico between 2010-2012 was approximately $31m - less than 0.3% of US domestic supply, said APHIS, however it was unable to estimate what impact the proposed rule may have on the level of imports in the future.

Under the new proposal pork and related products would have to have been produced from swine raised on farms meeting stringent sanitary and biosecurity requirements, said the rule summary.

The slaughterhouses would also be subject to periodic inspection and evaluations of their facilities by the APHIS, as well as their records and operations.

There are currently nine Mexican states that are recognised by the APHIS as being free from CSF: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Yucatan.

However due to the proximity of those states to CSF-affected areas, pork can only be exported to the US subject to certain criteria.

In November 2007, the Mexican government submitted a request to APHIS seeking recognition of the states of Aguascalientes, Colima, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, and Zacatecas as being CSF-free, and in September 2008 it added expanded the list to include Puebla. Then in January 2009, Mexico declared that CSF had been eradicated in the country and therefore expanded its request to include all states.

APHIS has been conducting assessements in the time since, but identified three risk factors, including the scientific evidence that some Mexican states had experienced exposure to CSF as recently as 2012. Other factors included a lack of uniformity in the quality of epidemiological investigations of suspect CSF cases in Mexico, and the existence of common land borders with the US between some states.

Although APHIS is unable to recognise the whole country as being CSF free, it is proposing to recognise a new APHIS-defined region which would consist of all states, except the state of Chiapas and the nine deemed CSF-free.

All nine states currently recognised as CSF-free could export their products as before, and the low-risk states could export pork and pork products - subject to proposed conditions - but not live swine to the US, as this poses a higher level of risk.

The comment period on the proposed rule​ ends on 29 September 2014.

Related topics: Meat

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