Keeping herds safe from foreign animal disease threats starts at the U.S. border. Paul Sundberg, Executive Director with the Swine Health Information Center, which is funded by Pork Checkoff, says there is a network of government agencies at ports and airports searching for animal products. This includes Customs and Border Protection agents, along with USDA-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and their Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance program.
“The last quarter of 2021 SCHIC seized almost a ton of illegal meat products for sale in New York City. In 2021 as well, Customs and Border Protection, CBP, found grandmother from the Dominican Republic coming into the country and she had 11 big sausages.”
The various pork organizations are in constant contact with the U.S. networks. “That comes also with some perspective, the whole issue of national biosecurity is not just those organizations on our border, protecting us from all of the things that may come into the country and make our pig sick African swine fever being one of them, it’s really got to be a state federal industry cooperation.”
The industry cooperation of preventing African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases from reaching the herd includes USDA, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, Swine Health Information Center, Swine Health Improvement Plan, North American Meat Institute and American Association of Swine Veterinarians.
Sundberg says containers, especially if they are inaccurately or illegally marked, can slip through inspections, and the risk is escalated if that product reaches feral or domestic herds of swine. Producers have an important job to do.
“It’s common sense with African swine fever around the world, there are some products that have gotten in. But we’ve done a really good job of keeping away from pigs, and that’s the producer responsibility, everybody’s got to work together in this or it won’t be successful.”
Visit porkcheckoff.org to read more about the industry’s collaboration efforts regarding producers’ No. 1 priority for their Checkoff dollars, foreign animal disease prevention.