Lymph Tissue Removal Requirements Amended for Pork to South Africa

USMEF recently cautioned exporters that South African customs officials are applying an “absence of lymph tissue” standard for any U.S. pork cuts designated for unrestricted sale (in other words, all cuts not destined for an approved facility in South Africa for further processing). This resulted in the rejection of some U.S. bone-in and boneless pork butts and boneless picnics in the initial trial shipment of U.S. pork to South Africa.

This week the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Export Library for South Africa was amended to reflect this standard, with the term “all visible and superficial” being stricken from the pork documentation requirements as follows:


For pork cuts on the indicated list of pork products exempt from further processing on arrival in South Africa, obtain FSIS Letterhead Certificate for Raw Frozen Pork Meat (Specified Cuts, Excluding Offal) Exported from the United States of America to South Africa for Unrestricted Sale. Prior to issuance of this certificate, FSIS Inspection Program Personnel must be provided with documentation verifying that all visual and superficial lymph nodes have been removed from the product. This documentation can be provided in the form of plant Quality Assurance/Quality Control checks, manufacturer certification or company attestation, or other acceptable written documentation.

Note to Exporter: For pork shoulder cuts listed in Annex A in the list of pork products exempt from further processing (above), the shipper/exporter should ensure that all visible and superficial lymph nodes and excessive connective tissues are removed during the fabrication process. The removal of lymph nodes and excessive connective tissues should have minimal impact on the appearance of the cuts.

Exporters with questions about these changes may email Cheyenne McEndaffer or call 303-623-6328. For pork cuts destined for approved facilities in South Africa for further processing, no export requirements have changed.