HC Deb 27 February 2002 vol 380 cc1354-5W
Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many port health officials were employed to check personal imports of meat and meat products on 1 January(a) 2002, (b) 2001, (c) 2000 and (d) 1999. [36585]

Mr. Morley

Responsibility for checks on imports of meat and meat products at points of entry are the responsibility of the local or port health authority and it is for the appropriate local authority to deploy staff according to the volume and nature of products imported. Most of the staff also undertake a range of other duties so the number checking imports can vary from day to day. The total number of local authority staff employed at Border Inspection Posts as at November 2001 was 196, comprising 97 Environmental Health Officers, 48 Official Veterinary Surgeons and 51 support staff. Figures for other years and staff not working at Border Inspection Posts are not available.

HM Customs officers also carry out checks for illegally imported meat and other animal products in passengers' baggage. In addition State Veterinary Service staff are also empowered to deal with illegally imported animal products when they are found.