§ 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. 
§ 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. 140W
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