FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Meat and Poultry Products From China


In a December 29th 2021 announcement, the USDA FSIS issued a public health alert for an undetermined quantity of imported meat and poultry products from China.  Labels did not indicate where items were processed and packed and no FSIS import re-inspection was conducted. The illegal importation was detected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and investigated by USDA APHIS.


Reviewing the labels, it is obvious that the various products contained pork, chicken and duck meat.  Although apparently heat processed, there is always a danger of introducing African swine fever (ASF) in the case of pork and avian influenza (AI) from undercooked poultry or contaminated packaging.


The FSIS has advised retailers not to sell products and consumers should dispose of them.  There is always a danger that discarded products will be consumed by animals with dissemination of pathogens as has occurred in a number of previous outbreaks. These include ASF into Portugal extending across the Iberian Peninsula in 1957 and Foot and Mouth disease into England in 2001. Recently, authorities in Japan and Thailand have confiscated contraband pork yielding ASF virus from the luggage of air travelers. There is an ongoing imperative to prevent introduction of exotic diseases through commercial shipments and by passengers.