US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) halted the attempt to smuggle one million pounds of pork from China to New Jersey port on Friday, leading to the largest seizure of agricultural products in American history. It comes to the heels of African Swine Fever (ASF) raging through China and destroying the pig population in the world's largest pork production.
"That was very controlled," said Stephen Maloney, director of ports for customs and border patrols for New York / Newark. He said it was an attempt to conceal the product.
More than 100 CBP agricultural specialists and K-9 teams have tried to detect forbidden foods. Pork was smuggled in different ways from shoulder noodle dishes to Tide detergent containers, said chief agricultural specialist Basil Liakakos.
In some cases, the package in the shipment corresponded to the products on the manifest, the authorities said, but the contents inside were banned by pork. In other cases, pork was packaged among other products.
CBP teams are working hard to keep the ASF, a highly portable, deadly pig outside of the US ASF, not to people, but to spread rapidly to domestic pigs and wild boars. In fresh meat, the ASF virus survives 150-180 days. In frozen meat, reports say the virus can live indefinitely.
Officials announced this seizure of more than 50 shipping containers at a Friday morning press conference in Elizabeth, N.J. According to an article by NJ.com, three rooms were wall-packed with packages of illegally smuggled pig products.
"Agricultural experts have critically captured these forbidden animal products and prevented them from entering the US before they could potentially cause serious damage," said Troy Miller, director of Customs and Border Protection in New York / Newark.
Once all 50 shipping containers have been checked, the confiscated products will be burned, Miller said. At this point, it is an ongoing investigation, Anthony Bucci, a CBP specialist for public affairs, told Bloomberg.
Beagle Brigade Protection: Agricultural non-secret dog guns
Border patrol breeds prohibited animal products
The USDA is taking further steps to prevent the spread of African swine fever