Record Animal Product Contraband Seized at LA/LB Ports for 3rd Straight Year

A Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist inspects a suspected shipment at the LA/LB seaport complex. Photo: CBP.

For the third straight year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialists reported record levels of illegal animal products coming through the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports, the agency said Feb. 15.

During fiscal year 2022, which spanned from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022, CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 1.2 million pounds of illegal pork, chicken, beef, and duck products coming from China, a 7% jump (more than 1.1 million pounds) from the previous fiscal year and a 162% spike from Fiscal Year 2020, which saw 463,279 pounds seized.

“These animal products are not approved for consumption by any U.S regulatory agency,” CPB 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.”

Although these goods aren’t a threat to human health and can’t transmit from animals to humans, the viruses are contagious and deadly to animals and can devastate vital U.S. livestock, the agency said.

“CBP agriculture specialists target, detect, intercept, and thereby prevent the entry of these potential threats before they have a chance to do any harm,” Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles said. “Prohibited animal products could seriously threaten U.S. agriculture, our natural resources and our economy.”

By Karen Robes Meeks