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One million pounds of pork allegedly smuggled from China seized at port

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BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. – Federal officials at the Newark port of entry seized 1 million pounds of pork products, allegedly smuggled from China, in the biggest agricultural bust in American history.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the pork seizure at a news conference on Friday at a warehouse in Elizabeth, telling NJ.com and other media outlets, the raid of more than 50 shipping containers was an effort to stop the spread of African swine fever, a virus that has decimated China’s pigs.

Anthony Bucci, an agency spokesman, said the meat was “primarily cured,” and the cargo containers were not refrigerated.

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The deadly disease, which does not affect humans, has never been detected among livestock in this country, NJ.com reported. But, if a domestic outbreak were to occur, a customs official said, it could cause $10 billion worth of damage to the U.S. pork industry in one year.

Authorities, including representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, still were investigating the smuggling, and as of Friday, no charges were filed.

The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, run by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, is among the largest ports of entry in the U.S., and the busiest on the East Coast.

Follow Philip DeVencentis on Twitter: @PhilDeVencentis 

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