U.S. to allow Mexican pork imports
The Agriculture Department on Jan. 19 finalized a regulation that will allow all Mexican states to export pork to the United States.
In a news release, the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it is recognizing Mexico as free of classical swine fever (CSF).
“At the request of Mexico’s government, APHIS completed a thorough review, which included updating its initial risk assessment in 2016 following a 2015 site visit,” APHIS said.
“Using this information, APHIS determined that the risk of introducing CSF into the United States through imports of live swine, swine genetics, pork and pork products is very low. These items can safely be imported following the conditions outlined in APHIS’s import regulations, while still protecting the United States against CSF.”
But the agency added, “While APHIS is removing most of the CSF restrictions on these items from Mexico, APHIS must still consider other animal health concerns related to the import of live swine and swine genetics. APHIS will address these issues in import protocols for the commodities, consistent with the agency’s domestic swine programs and swine health status.”
The National Pork Producers Council said in a news release it supported the decision.
“The U.S. pork industry is a strong supporter of free trade and of using epidemiological science and risk analyses to determine if trade can be safely conducted between countries,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “Mexico in 2017 was our No. 2 export market, so maintaining our good relationship with that country by ensuring fair and reciprocal trade is paramount for our producers.”
Through November last year, the United States shipped $1.4 billion of pork to Mexico.
“Mexico in late 2007 requested market access to the United States for pork from the eight states in its central region but later amended that request to include all Mexican states,” NPPC said.
“APHIS at that time conducted multiple reviews and determined Mexico’s control program for CSF was not sufficient to classify the country as negligible risk for the disease.
“But because of the importance to the United States of the trade relationship with Mexico, USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service provided funding through a Global Based Initiative to assist that country with improving its control program,” NPPC said.
“Through the grant, Mexican officials received training in foreign animal disease diagnostics at USDA’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center and in-country training on case management and control activities. A subsequent review by the World Organization for Animal Health determined that Mexico was free of CSF.”