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  4. Animal Food Contraband from China Remains at Record Levels at LA/LB Seaport

Animal Food Contraband from China Remains at Record Levels at LA/LB Seaport

Release Date

China is affected with Several Contagious and Deadly Animal Diseases 

Agriculture Specialist inspects Animal Food Contraband
A CBP agriculture specialist inspects a shipment
of prohibited meat products.

LOS ANGELES—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 percent 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. (356,757 kilograms) marking a staggering increase of 80 percent compared to the previous year.

Two Agriculture Specialists Inspect a Food Contraband Shipment
CBP at the LA/Long Beach Seaport intercepted an unprecedented
number of shipments containing prohibited pork,
chicken, beef and duck products.

“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 C. 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 percent increase, and 166 Significant Incident Reports marking a 50 percent 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.

Animal Food Contraband
CBP agriculture specialists found most of the unmanifiested
animal products commingled in boxes of other products
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 R. 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 United States 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 United States, crippling the domestic pork industry and U.S. pork exports valued at $6.5 billion annually. The ASF is spread by contact with an infected animals’ body fluids. It can be spread by ticks that feed on infected animals.

USDA – APHIS Resources:

About CBP Agriculture Mission:

Agriculture is the largest industry and employing sector in the U.S. with more than 1 trillion of economic activity annually. The greatest risks of success of this industry are exotic plan pests and foreign animal diseases. On a typical day in fiscal year 2019, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 314 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,695 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil. Learn how CBP protects American Agriculture.

  • Last Modified: April 19, 2022