Record Amounts of Illegal Meat From China Seized at Los Angeles Ports

Record Amounts of Illegal Meat From China Seized at Los Angeles Ports
The Port of Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Jill McLaughlin

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials are seizing record amounts of illegal meat products from China at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

Between October and December 2021, agents seized more than 262,000 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef, and duck products. This was a 33 percent increase from the year before, officials reported March 14.

Illegal meat imports from China reached a peak in 2021, when agents at the twin Southern California ports uncovered nearly 787,000 pounds, representing an 80 percent increase from the year before.

“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,” Carlos Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

When illegally shipped meat is intercepted, CBP either destroys it or sends it back to China, according to the agency.

Agents at the ports found most of the illegal animal products stored with boxes of e-commerce shipments and household goods, in what they say was a clear attempt to smuggle the meat.

“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.

According to the USDA, China is known to have cases of African swine fever, classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease, bird flu, and other virulent diseases.

African swine fever can be deadly for swine, but has proved harmless to humans. The disease has never been detected in the United States and is not a food safety issue, according to the USDA.
Also from October to December last year, more than 1,900 pounds of prohibited pork, poultry, and other meat products from China were seized from New York-area retailers and destroyed by agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The meat found in New York didn’t have the required import permits and health certificates, reported the agency.

Nationwide, U.S. pork production has an estimated $13.4 billion in gross output, and exports total over 2.2 million metric tons each year, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.
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