Amid swine flu fears, agents confiscate 1,500 pounds of Hong Kong pork, poultry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Louisville, Ky., seized 1,500 pounds of pork and poultry that arrived in the United States from Hong Kong last month. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Sept. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Louisville, Ky., interdicted 1,500 pounds of unauthorized pork and poultry shipments from Hong Kong last month.

"From August 20 to August 28, agriculture specialists stopped 13 shipments from the same corporation in Hong Kong, heading to the same company in Bellerose, N.Y.," Customs and Border Protection said in a press release Wednesday.

Outbreaks of African swine fever, swine vesicular disease and classical swine fever in Asia have resulted in pork from Hong Kong being prohibited without a specific permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services.

Avian products are are also heavily restricted due to outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and virulent Newcastle disease.

"Each shipments contained pork items, some contained pork and poultry items and one contained pork and other prohibited food. In total 1,104 pounds of pork, 298 pounds of poultry, and 88 pounds of prohibited food were seized," CBP said.

The CBP says the seized meat was destroyed and the company that was meant to receive it was informed.

CBP Chicago Field Office Field Operations Director LaFonda Sutton-Burke said, "Louisville's CBP agriculture specialists are focused on their mission to prevent entry of prohibited items from entering the United States."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that promising candidates exist for a vaccine to prevent African swine fever but emphasize that a commercially available vaccine could take years to develop.