HC Deb 23 July 2004 vol 424 cc811-2W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what actions on the part of the UK authorities were(a) required and (b) recommended by the European Union with regard to the September 2000 foot and mouth disease outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal; and when these were implemented; [183401]

(2) what actions the UK authorities took in regard to the November 2000 foot and mouth disease outbreak in Mpumalanga that were not taken in regard to the September 2000 outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal. [183403]

Margaret Beckett

If there is an outbreak of disease likely to present a risk to human or animal health, European Community legislation allows us to take appropriate safeguard action, which may include a ban on imports of meat from all, or parts, of that country. At the time of the outbreak in Kwazulu-Natal, it was not deemed necessary to take safeguard action since the South African authorities had prohibited the issue of export certificates for fresh meat From the area in which the outbreak had occurred. This meant that exports from South Africa could not take place.

On 7–8 November 2000 the European Commission informed the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) (now known as the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health) of the outcome of an inspection and indicated that safeguard measures may be necessary. On 25 November the Commission published legislation prohibiting imports into the Community of fresh meat from 16 districts in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

On 5 January the Government issued a Declaration under Regulation 35 of the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996, prohibiting imports into England and Wales of meat from all of South Africa. Similar action was taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The outbreak in Mpumalanga was confirmed on 30 November. The Commission took action in February 2001 to extend EU restrictions on imports of meat in respect of Mpumalanga. By that time, the UK had already banned imports of meat from the whole country, so no further action was necessary.

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