HC Deb 08 May 2002 vol 385 cc158-9W
Phil Sawford

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she is taking to prevent illegal meat imports. [53677]

Mr. Morley

We have taken a range of initiatives aimed at improving our ability to prevent and detect illegal imports of animal products. These initiatives have been co-ordinated by officials in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but involve other departments such as HM Customs and Excise and the Food Standards Agency, and the local authorities who are responsible for controls at ports and airports. We have concentrated on raising public awareness of our import rules through our Embassies, and strengthening intelligence gathering and sharing to improve targeting of anti-smuggling measures. We also introduced new posters which are displayed at airports and ports to ensure that travellers are aware of the restrictions on what may be imported. On 28 March we published an action plan which is available in the House Libraries. This plan commits Government to a range of measures including completing a risk assessment of disease risks posed by illegal imports of meat. In addition we have enquired into the use of detector dogs and aim to carry out a pilot this summer. These actions are kept under constant review.

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