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US studies pork imports from certain areas in Mexico

By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in regulations that would relax restrictions on pork imports from certain areas of Mexico, potentially allowing for increased U.S. imports at a time of a supply shortage.

The proposal would permit pork to be imported from certain parts of Mexico defined as having a low risk of classical swine fever, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a posting on Tuesday in the Federal Register.

CSF, also known as hog cholera, is a highly contagious viral disease of swine that was eradicated in the United States in 1978 after a 16-year campaign.

Swine typically cannot enter the United States from regions affected by CSF. The most common method of transmission is through direct contact between healthy swine and infected animals.

Under the proposal, pork and pork products would have to be derived from swine raised on farms meeting stringent sanitary and biosecurity requirements, and the facilities would be subject to periodic inspections by U.S. authorities.