Agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have confiscated 1 million pounds of pork smuggled from China.
African Swine Fever
The pork was smuggled into the Port of Newark in New Jersey amid concerns the meat may contain African swine flu disease.
The African swine fever is a highly infectious hemorrhagic viral disease that affects pigs. The disease spreads through contact with infected animals, bites from infected ticks, ingestion of infected meat or contact with contaminated surfaces.
The disease cannot infect humans, but it can kill the entire hog herds. ASF can kill hogs in as little as two days. No vaccine or cure is available for the disease.
African swine fever has not been reported in the United States, but so far killed more than 1 million pigs in China. The Asian country, which houses the largest hog population in the world, has reported 112 outbreaks in 28 provinces and regions since August.
Smuggled Meat Hidden In Containers Of Detergents And Noodles
The seizures were announced during a press conference on Friday at a warehouse in Elizabeth, where three rooms were filled wall to wall with packages of the illegally imported meat. Authorities said the seizure is an effort to battle the spread of the disease.
"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 Customs and Border Protection Field Operations in New York/Newark.
The seizures were the largest of agricultural products in the United States. The contraband arrived in more than 50 shipping containers over the past few weeks hidden in containers of laundry detergents and ramen noodles.
It took the work of more than 100 CBP agriculture specialists and canines from the Department of Agriculture to uncover the illegally imported meat.
CBP spokesperson Anthony Bucci said the meat was primarily cured and the cargo containers were not refrigerated. He said that an ongoing investigation is being done in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.