HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc139-40W
Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigation he has made into carcases being imported into the UK with spinal cords still in place; how many of these came from countries(a) with and (b) without records of BSE infection; and if he will make a statement. [39259]

Yvette Cooper

[holding answer 28 February 2002]: I am advised on matters of food safety by the Food Standards Agency.

On each occasion where consignments of imported carcase meat have been found with remnants of spinal cord still attached, the matter has been vigorously pursued with the chief veterinary officer of the European Union member state of origin, and with the European Commission. Where the incident has revealed a systematic problem, the FSA has pressed for firm action at the exporting plant. In eight cases, this has led to plant licences being suspended or certain operations halted until the authorities have been satisfied that the problems have been rectified.

All EU member states involved in these incidents have reported BSE cases during 2001. Further information is set out in the table.

Number of:
Exporting country consignments where spinal cord found by UK veterinary inspectors1 reported BSE cases (2001)
Germany 8 125
Netherlands 6 20
Ireland 4 242
Belgium 2 46
Spain 2 82
Italy 1 48
Denmark 1 6
11 January 2001 to 26 February 2002

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