Most of the animal products were found 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’, said CBP.
Its agriculture specialists identified, examined and seized 12 shipments containing a total of 834 cartons which lacked the required US Department of Agriculture (USDA) entry documentation.
According to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, China is a country affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), 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 Martel, director, Field Operations, LA, CBP.
“CBP agriculture specialists remain committed and vigilant of foreign animal disease threats.”
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.
“Foreign plant pests and animal diseases like ASF and exotic fruit flies can cause devastating losses to the agriculture industry. USDA and CBP are committed to working together to intercept illegal products and protect the health of U.S. livestock and crops,” said Helene Wright, USDA State Plant Health Director for California.
Chinese animal products are in high demand in certain communities in the US. Smugglers attempt to bring those products which are later sold in markets. Many consumers are not aware of the importation restrictions.
“Every day, CBP agriculture specialists protect the livelihoods of American farm workers, our food supply and ultimately our nation’s agriculture prosperity,” said Donald Kusser, port director, Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, CBP.
When undeclared animal products are discovered, CBP reports the violation to the USDA and issues an emergency action for the expedited destruction of the contraband.
Pork products from ASF-affected countries may introduce the virus to the US, crippling the domestic pork industry and US pork exports valued at $6.5bn annually. AFS is spread by contact with an infected animals’ bodily fluids.