§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what representations he has received alleging unfair competition from the giving of illegal hormones to cattle in other EC countries; whether he has raised this matter with the European Commission; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what representations he has received urging the desirability of increasing the number of tests on imported beef for hormones and clenbuterol; and if he will make a statement on measures to protect both producers and consumers in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Maclean
We have received a number of representations recently about veterinary drug abuse in the European Community and the testing which is carried out. Under the residues directive 86/469, EC member states are required to carry out a programme of monitoring for residues of veterinary drugs, including hormones and other illegal growth promoters. The Ministry also has in place a programme of surveillance specifically directed at veterinary drug residues in imported meat, including hormones and clenbuterol.
Surveillance for clenbuterol is being stepped up in 1991, both in terms of the number of animals tested and the range of cattle covered. The position is under continuing review, and if there is evidence of a particular problem, urgent consideration will be given to further increases in the level of monitoring.
We have not raised this matter with the European Commission although we have discussed the situation with the Irish Minister of Agriculture, and offered him our full support in the steps he is taking against illegal clenbuterol use in the Irish Republic.