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US seizes one million lbs of pork from China amid ASF concerns

US border agents have seized around one million pounds of pork from China over suspicions that it might contain African swine fever.

18 March 2019, at 10:25a.m.
The Beagle Brigade programme averages around 75,000 seizures of prohibited agricultural products a year
The Beagle Brigade programme averages around 75,000 seizures of prohibited agricultural products a year

© United States Department of Agriculture [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en]

Reuters reports that federal agents seized the supplies from New York over the past week.

"The seizure was in an effort to battle the spread of African swine fever," Anthony L Bucci, Public Affairs Specialist at US Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters over email.

Asked if the seized pork had African swine fever, Bucci said, "This is an ongoing investigation," and added that the federal agents were working with US Department of Agriculture on the issue.

China, home to the world's largest hog herd, has reported 112 outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in 28 provinces and regions since August, with the vast majority found on farms, with one at a slaughterhouse.

The disease can kill hogs in just two days, but is not harmful to people. About one million pigs have been culled so far in an effort to try to control the spread.

Hog prices in China hit their highest in 14 months this week as the spread of the disease reduces output.

US officials decided to ramp up their fight to avoid the virus after Vietnam confirmed its first cases last month.

The US Department of Agriculture said it will add more dogs to sniff out illegal pork products at airports and seaports in an effort to keep out the contagious hog disease that has spread across Asia and Europe.