WASHINGTON — On Nov. 25, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of the US Dept. of Agriculture announced a final rule clarifying the requirements for reporting foreign sales of beef and pork under the Export Sales Reporting Program.

The rule from the federal agency comes as more US pork products are being shipped to China. The country has increased its imports of pork and other proteins to fill the hole left by declining domestic pork supplies caused by an outbreak of African Swine Fever.

The FAS rule also clarified that “muscle cuts” of pork and beef include whole carcasses, divided carcasses and products that are boxed and exported.

“Carcasses that are broken down, boxed, or sold as a complete unit are muscle cuts. Total weight of carcasses reported may include minor nonreportable items (e.g., hooves) attached to carcasses,” the USDA said. “Meats removed during the conversion of an animal to a carcass (e.g., variety meats such as beef/pork hearts and beef tongues ) are not muscle cuts, nor are items sold as bones practically free of meat (e.g., beef femur bones) or fat practically free of meat (e.g., pork clear plate) removed from a carcass.”

The agency also said that timely reporting and publishing of agricultural export sales data is key to effectively functioning markets.

Each week, exporters are required to report all foreign sales of these commodities to FAS. The agency then publishes a summary report.

The entire rule can be found here.