HC Deb 27 February 2001 vol 363 c614W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of beef imports from Germany are subject to BSE checks of the kind that resulted in the recent discovery of specified risk material contamination in Northern Ireland. [147860]

Ms Stuart

[holding answer 30 January 2001]: As a general rule, fresh meat imported into the United Kingdom from other European Union member states is subject only to random spot checks at places of destination. The responsibility for ensuring that only meat which complies with EU hygiene and BSE controls is exported to other member States rests with the competent authorities in each member state.

However, following the discovery of remnants of spinal cord in a numbei of consignments of beef imported recently from Germany. the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has instructed the Meat Hygiene Service and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland to ensure that all consignments of beef imported from Germany are now inspected in licensed meat plants. The FSA has also written to local authorities to advise them that all meat plants under local authority supervision which are likely to receive consignments of German beef should be subject to further random checks, in which any beef from Germany should be inspected.

In addition, the FSA has also vigorously taken up the problem of the contaminated beef with both the European Commission and the relevant German authorities.