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Animal food contraband from China remains at record levels at seaportAnimal food contraband from China remains at record levels at seaport

Volume of prohibited products at Los Angeles/ Long Beach increases 33% year over year.

March 15, 2022

2 Min Read
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The seizures of prohibited meat products from China continue at levels never seen before at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport. Just in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022, (October-December 2021) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists intercepted 262,237 pounds (118,949 kilograms) of prohibited pork, chicken, beef, and duck products, a 33% increase from same period the year before.

This concerning uptrend began intensifying in fiscal year 2021, when in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of prohibited animal products interdicted by CBP at the LA/LB Seaport reached an unprecedented 786,514 lbs. marking a staggering increase of 80% compared to the previous year.

“Preventing the introduction of foreign contagious animal diseases and noxious pests at our nation’s largest seaport is paramount and vital to our agriculture industry and the well-being of the communities we serve,” said Carlos. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “We work closely with our USDA and private-sector partners to protect the nation from a variety of diverse agriculture threats.

From October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, LA/Long Beach CBP agriculture specialists issued 1,256 Emergency Action Notifications (EAN) for a 52% increase, and 166 Significant Incident Reports marking a 50% increment from the previous year. When unmanifiested/prohibited animal products are intercepted, CBP issues an EAN to initiate the destruction or re-exportation of the contraband.

According to USDA, China is a country affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), Classical Swine Fever (CSF), virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD).

CBP agriculture specialists found most of the unmanifiested animal products commingled in boxes of e-commerce shipments and household goods in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats.

“CBP plays a major role in protecting American consumers and the agriculture industry from pests and diseases.” said Donald Kusser, CBP Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport.  “These unprecedented numbers reflect the critical role and outstanding contributions of CBP’s agriculture specialists, they have been working tirelessly identifying, intercepting and seizing these prohibited items.”

Unregulated animal products from China are in high demand and smugglers attempt to smuggle those products into the U.S. for profit without regard to consumer safety or potential damage to the agriculture industry. Many consumers are not aware of the importation restrictions.

Pork products from ASF-affected countries may introduce the virus to the U.S., with a potential to cripple the domestic pork industry and U.S. pork exports at an estimated $6.5 billion annually.

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