Following meetings in late October with Mexican government officials, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) pressed the U.S. government to prioritize completion of risk assessments for classical swine fever (hog cholera) in a number of Mexican states.

Mexican officials in Washington have raised concerns about reciprocal market access by its producers into the U.S. pork market because some Mexican states have yet to be declared disease-free by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Mexican government has said the states are free of classical swine fever (hog cholera), a highly contagious viral disease of pigs.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has cleared a number of Mexican states, and is conducting risk assessments on eight others with pork operations.

“NPPC supports a science-based decision regarding the importation of Mexican pork and pork products into the United States, and we have urged APHIS to make completion of its risk assessments for the remaining Mexican states a high priority,” says NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, OH. “We also have urged APHIS to quickly begin the rulemaking process to allow Mexican pork imports once the risk assessments have been completed.”

Mexico shipped $34.5 million of pork products to the United States in 2007, while the United States exported nearly $450 million of pork to Mexico, making the southern neighbor the No. 3 destination for U.S. pork. For the first eight months of 2008, U.S. pork exports to Mexico were worth $417 million.