HL Deb 17 June 2002 vol 636 cc55-6WA
Lord Hayhoe

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What restrictions impede or prevent the import of mature beef from Chicago, United States, for human consumption in the United Kingdom. [HL4339]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Under European Union rules, beef derived from cattle of any age from a non-EU country is allowed entry into the EU only if it has been produced to standards at least equivalent to those that are required in EU member states. The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (formerly the Standing Veterinary Committee) must approve both the country of origin for trade in a particular type of meat and also agree the list of specified plants which may produce for export to the EU. Meat must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued by the authorities in the exporting country and must be presented on arrival in the EU at a border inspection post, where it is subject to veterinary checks.

These inspections ensure that all conditions of import, including the appropriate specified risk materials declaration, have been complied with and ensure that the meat has remained in a satisfactory condition during transport. Once these checks have been carried out, a certificate of veterinary clearance is issued and the goods can move freely throughout the EU.

The United States is approved to export beef to the EU, and for this purpose there are two approved establishments in Chicago. No additional restrictions apply for the import of mature beef from the United States into the United Kingdom.