American federal agents just seized over one million pounds of Chinese pork owing to fears of an African swine fever outbreak that is currently ravaging China’s pork industry. The seizures occurred in New Jersey and mark the largest ever seizure of agricultural products by the United States.
So far, however, the American government has not revealed if any of the seized pork was infected with the African swine fever. Crazily enough, some of the pork was found hidden in laundry detergent shipments.
The investigation remains ongoing but the nature of the smuggling efforts has raised concerns. While China is innocent until proven guilty, some speculate that the shipments of pork could have been an intentional effort to spread the swine fever to the United States.
Since August, China has reported 128 swine fever outbreaks. Large herds of pigs have been culled in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. It’s estimated that one million pigs have been culled. China has the world’s largest herds of pigs but the population has been plummeting. China may now be forced to import more pork from the United States and other suppliers.
It’s believed that if swine fever were to spread through America’s pork industry, it could cause billions of dollars in damage.
As of now, the African swine fever cannot infect humans. However, micro-organisms can evolve quickly and it’s possible that the fever could jump species under the right circumstances. Some have also warned that humans could be swine fever vectors. This means, if a person comes into contact with the swine fever they could transfer it to pigs.