HC Deb 12 May 1992 vol 207 cc69-70W
Mr. Barnes

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in what circumstances his Department sends in its veterinary services to investigate cases of salmonella poisoning in cattle; what charges are then payable by the farmers concerned; and whether these arrangements differ depending upon whether farmers are involved in milk or meat production.

Mr. Soames

The Zoonoses Order 1989 requires isolations of salmonella to be notified to a veterinary officer of the Ministry. The action taken by the Ministry on receipt of a salmonella report depends on the circumstances of the case and in particular whether it is considered to be primarily an animal health matter or a human health risk.

The responsibility for dealing with animal health matters rests with the farmer's veterinary surgeon since the animals are under his care. If the veterinary surgeon requests further advice from the Ministry's state veterinary service, on an animal health matter, an advisory visit to the farm would be provided on a chargeable basis.

The charge for an advisory visit is based on the time spent by the veterinary investigation officer on the farm with possible additional charges for any laboratory examinations carried out on samples taken during the visit.

Where the Ministry considers that there are significant human health risks associated with the case the matter is investigated free of charge by the state veterinary service in collaboration, where appropriate, with the local medical and environmental health authorities. The farmer's veterinary surgeon is informed of the action to be taken.

These procedures apply irrespective of whether a farmer is involved in milk or meat production.