Asian Tourists Keep Smuggling Banned Pork

Australian border officials have seized 27 metric tons (30 U.S. tons) of cooked pork from luggage and parcels since February.

It’s happening in the U.S., too … 

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia for the first time has canceled a tourist’s visa over undeclared food as the country tries to keep itself free of African swine fever.

The 45-year-old woman who arrived at Sydney International Airport on Saturday had undeclared food in her luggage including 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of pork, Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said on Tuesday.

She was sent home to Vietnam and banned from returning to Australia for three years, McKenzie said.

Australia is free of the disease that has wiped out pig populations across Asia and Europe.

But the disease was recently detected in East Timor, a near neighbor where Australian veterinarians are working with local authorities on an eradication plan.

Sniffer dogs now examine luggage on direct flights from the East Timorese capital Dili to the northern Australian city of Darwin to prevent contamination.

“We need to keep our pest- and disease-free status as a country strong,” McKenzie told reporters.

Australian border officials have seized 27 metric tons (30 U.S. tons) of cooked pork from luggage and parcels since February.

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The proportion of that smuggled meat contaminated with African swine fever had increased from 15% in February to 48% in September, McKenzie said.

Margo Andrae, chief executive of industry promotion body Australian Pork Limited, said the greatest threat to the industry was if the disease took hold in Australia’s wild pig population.

Australia has around 2.5 million domestic pigs while the feral herd was estimated to be five times larger.

Andrae said the devastation to pig herds across Asia had created export opportunities for Australian pig farmers in markets including the Philippines and Singapore.

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But she said Australia did not have pork trade arrangement with China, which McKenzie said faces a 10 million metric ton (11 million U.S. ton) annual “protein deficit” due to African swine fever.

U.S. Customs Busts Million-Pound Shipment of Smuggled Pork

March 31, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized one million pounds of illegally-smuggled Chinese pork at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, part of the busy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey complex.

In an operation targeting 50 shipping containers, over 100 CBP agents and K-9 team members found a massive illicit shipment of cured pork products, all carefully hidden within shipments of other consumer goods.

Once the tally was in, CBP determined that it was likely the largest seizure of agricultural products ever made in the United States.

Chinese pork is banned in the U.S. because of the risk of introducing African Swine Fever, a livestock disease that does not affect people but is deadly to pigs.

It is a particularly dangerous contagion: it spreads quickly, has no vaccine or cure, and can survive in meat for months.

Over the past year its reach has been expanding rapidly throughout rural China, and American officials say that it could cause billions of dollars in economic damage if imported to the United States.

Given the level of effort put into concealment of the shipment, CBP believes that the smuggling operation was carefully planned.

“Agriculture specialists made a critical interception of these prohibited animal products and stopped them from entering the U.S. before they could potentially cause grave damage,” said Troy Miller, director of CBP’s field operations office in New York/Newark, at a press conference in New Jersey on Friday. Source [Fair Use].

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