U.S. customs agents seized a record amount of contraband animal products from China at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex in fiscal year 2022, authorities announced today.
From Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022, agriculture inspectors intercepted more than 1.2 million pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China, according to Jaime Ruiz of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“This represents a 7% increase from fiscal year 2021, and a 162% increase from fiscal year 2020,” Ruiz said. “These animal products are not approved for consumption by any U.S regulatory agency.”
According to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, China is a country affected by African swine fever, classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, foot and mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza and swine vesicular disease.
“While these products are not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from animals to humans, these highly contagious viruses could cause 100% mortality in animals, devastating vital U.S. livestock resources,” Ruiz said. “It can be spread by ticks that feed on infected animals.”
Prohibited animal products are often commingled in boxes of products like headphones, cell phone covers, clothing, shoes and household goods, Ruiz said.
“Behind this concerning trend is the exponential increase in e-commerce purchases during the pandemic,” said Donald Kusser, CBP port director of the LA/LB seaport. “Our agriculture specialists have done an outstanding job focusing on this threat, resulting in these record-breaking interceptions.”