1 million pounds of pork seized at US border amid deadly Chinese outbreak

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized around 1 million pounds of pork at the Newark Port or Entry on Friday, in what authorities are calling the largest agricultural bust in U.S. history.

The raid was made to combat the spread of African swine fever, a contagious disease that has killed more than 1 million pigs in China. The virus hasn't been seen in the U.S yet, but it spreads rapidly to livestock. According to Customs and Border Protection, it would cause serious damage to the U.S. pork industry. The good news is the virus does not affect humans.

“Agriculture specialists made a critical interception of these prohibited animal products, and stopped them from entering the U.S. before they could potentially cause grave damage,” Troy Miller, director of Customs and Border Protection Field Operations, told NJ.com.

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Miller said it would cause nearly $10 billion worth of damage to the U.S. pork industry within one year.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the outbreak in China has already spread to Vietnam, where 79 outbreaks have been confirmed.

“Agriculture specialists made a critical interception of these prohibited animal products, and stopped them from entering the U.S. before they could potentially cause grave damage,” Troy Miller, director of Customs and Border Protection Field Operations, told NJ.com.

During a Friday press conference, customs officials announced they seized more than 50 shipping containers filled with illegally smuggled pork products at a warehouse in Elizabeth. Agricultural specialists and inspectors are still going through the boxes and when the Department of Agriculture examines all 50 shipping containers, they plan on burning the illegal pork contraband, Miller said at the press conference.

A show of some of the shipping boxes containing the illegal pork.

A show of some of the shipping boxes containing the illegal pork. (CBP New York City)

Custom and Border Protection enlisted more than 100 agricultural specialists and canines from the Department of Agriculture to uncover the illegally smuggled products, which was hidden in ramen noodle bowls and Tide detergent, deputy chief agricultural specialist Basil Liakakos told NJ.com.

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Authorities said the packaging sometimes lined up with what was on the manifest but contained illegal pork. In other cases it was hidden in other products.

The World Organization for Animal Health says there is no approved vaccine for African swine fever and mortality rates are as high as 100 percent in acute forms of the virus.

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Prices for the pig trading market in Chicago have increased because they believe this will cause more importing of American pork, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said the investigation was ongoing.