To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the(a) veterinary drug policies and (b) farming practices used in countries from which the UK imports poultry; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 26 October 1999]: Imports of fresh poultry meat must originate only from third countries on a list drawn up by the European Commission. In drawing up the list the Commission must take account of the state in that country of:
- the health of poultry, other domestic animals and wildlife;
- the supply of information relating to the existence of contagious animal diseases;
- rules and organisation on, and implementation of, disease prevention and control;
- the structure and powers of the veterinary service;
- legislation on the use of banned substances;
- the guarantees the country can give with regard to compliance with EU import rules.
In addition, any third country wishing to export fresh meat to the European Union must submit veterinary drug residue testing plans to the Commission. These describe the residue testing programme to be undertaken in respect of their food production and must provide guarantees, which are at least equivalent to the requirements of the Community on EC producers. Commission inspectors verify compliance with residue testing plans when they carry out periodic checks on third country slaughterhouses authorised to produce meat for export to the Community.