HC Deb 25 March 2003 vol 402 cc197-8W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how often since 31 March 2002 the Food Standards Agency has inspected the work of(a) local and (b) post health authorities in relation to the illegal import of animal and plant products at each relevant port. [103773]

Ms Blears

I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that it undertakes an audit programme of local authorities which aims to ensure effective and consistent local authority enforcement of all legislation relating to food safety and standards, including that which applies to imported foods. Since 31 March 2002, the FSA has carried out audits of 89 United Kingdom local authorities, covering the full range of local authority food law enforcement activity.

Following the Cabinet Office review of imported food controls, the FSA has been asked to lead on a project to deliver a 'step change' in the co-ordination of local authority responsibilities for the control of the legal trade in imported food products. As part of this project the FSA is extending the audit programme to include audits of port health authorities.

All products of animal origin being imported direct to the UK from non-European Union countries must be imported via a border inspection post (BIP). The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has policy lead for BIPs.

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