HL Deb 08 May 2001 vol 625 c185WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of food originating from the European Union is inspected at the point of destination In the United Kingdom; what checks are made and with what frequency on such food at retail level; and who bears the cost in each case. [HL1897]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Information concerning the percentage of food originating from other member states of the European Union inspected at the point of destination in the United Kingdom is not held centrally.

Retail premises receiving such food are subject to random as well as programmed checks. The frequency and nature of programmed inspections are set out in Codes of Practice 8 and 9 issued under Section 40 of the Food Safety Act 1990. Random checks are undertaken in response to consumer complaints and for other reasons. The costs of these inspections fall to the local food authority.

Imports of meat and meat products from other member states of the European Union which are delivered to meat plants in the UK, licensed under the meat hygiene regulations, are subject to risk-based random checks by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) and by its equivalent in Northern Ireland. The MHS has been instructed to review levels of checking to allow for additional volumes of imports while British supplies are disrupted by the effects of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The MHS is also checking all consignments of imported carcass beef following the recent cases where specified risk materials were found to be attached to the meat. The costs of normal MHS services are charged to the plant operator.