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Pandemic doesn’t stop Chinese from smuggling tons of illegal meat into the U.S.

PortandTerminal.com, June 20, 2020

Cargo shipments at California’s ports may be down in 2020, but that hasn’t stopped Chinese smugglers from bringing in illegal meat products into the United States.

LONG BEACH, CA – In the first five months of fiscal year 2020, the interception of prohibited meats from China at the LA/Long Beach Seaport has increased 70% compared with the same period the year before.

The news is especially ironic given China’s recent move to test legally imported meat American meat for the novel coronavirus as it grapples with a resurgence of the virus.

Meat Seizures at LA/Long Beach Ports

CBP agriculture specialists at the LA/Long Beach Seaport inspect a shipment containing meat products from China. 
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Between April 6 and June 6, agents assigned to the LA/Long Beach Seaport intercepted 19,555 pounds of prohibited pork, chicken, beef and duck products arriving from China, authorities said Friday.

Most of the animal products were commingled in boxes of headphones, door locks, kitchenware, LCD tablets, trash bags, swim fins, cell phone covers, plastic cases and household goods “in a clear attempt to smuggle the prohibited meats,” Jaime Ruiz of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

According to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, China is a country affected by African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Newcastle Disease, Foot and Mouth Disease, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Swine Vesicular Disease.

Last March, in the largest agricultural seizure ever made in the United States, U.S. federal agents seized at least a million pounds of pork that were being smuggled from China into the U.S. in more than 50 unrefrigerated shipping containers via the ports of New York and New Jersey.

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