HC Deb 30 April 1998 vol 311 c246W
20. Dr. Iddon

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to publish the draft Food Standards Agency Bill. [39128]

Mr. Rooker

We hope to publish the draft Bill later in the current Parliamentary Session.

Mr. Clifton-Brown

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what powers the Food Standards Agency will have in respect of imported food. [39014]

Mr. Rooker

The Agency will need to play a key role in import policy to ensure that food safety continues to be protected, and we are looking at how this can best be achieved whilst taking into account trade and animal health issues.

The Agency will have responsibility for legislation and guidance on enforcement activities relating to imported food under The Imported Food Regulations 1997. Responsibility for enforcing food safety legislation in respect of imported food will remain with the Port Health Authorities and Local Authorities, but in future the Agency will have a key role in monitoring this work. In addition, the Agency will take on MAFF's current responsibilities for routine chemical and microbiological surveillance of foodstuffs, which makes no distinction between imported and domestic produce. Where surveillance gives rise to concerns, it will be for the Agency to decide—on the basis of advice from its expert Committees—what action to take.