FOOD SAFETY NEWS – During the past three months, from October to December 2021, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC) program seized and destroyed more than 1,900 pounds of prohibited pork, poultry, and ruminant products from New York City-area retailers.
APHIS reports these items were sourced from China, lacked required import permits and health certificates, and therefore are considered a risk of introducing diseases as well as invasive plant and animal pests into the United States.
SITC anti-smuggling efforts prevent the establishment of invasive plant and animal pests and diseases while maintaining the safety of our ecosystems and natural resources.
The recent efforts to safeguard American agriculture represent a continued collaboration between APHIS, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and New York City officials.
APHIS is concerned about these prohibited products because China is affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), Classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, foot-and-mouth disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza, and swine vesicular disease.
ASF is of particular concern because the highly contagious and deadly viral disease that affects both domestic and feral swine of all ages has recently spread throughout China and Asia and within parts of the European Union.
Most recently, ASF was confirmed in pigs in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Thailand.
ASF is not a threat to human health. Still, it is a deadly swine disease that would significantly impact U.S. pork producers, their communities, and export markets if discovered in the United States.
ASF is not present in the United States – and APHIS says it works to keep it that way.
In response to the concerns about ASF, the USDA agency is working closely with other federal and state governments along with pork producers to take the necessary actions to protect the nation’s commercial swine population and keep this disease out of the U.S.
APHIS is also actively preparing its response if ASF is ever detected in the U.S.
SITC’s safeguarding efforts also include other prohibited agricultural products. In 2021, SITC seized 224,568 pounds of prohibited agricultural items valued at over $1.7 million, helping protect U.S. crops and livestock from devastating and costly plant pests and foreign animal diseases.
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