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Foodstuffs (Toxic Chemicals)

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what tests are applied to ascertain residue levels of toxic chemicals in imported foodstuffs from (a) eastern Europe, (b) the European Common Market and (c) the rest of the world: how many tests were carried out in each of the past five years and on what types of foods; and what changes he intends to make in this system.

Imported foodstuffs are examined by Ministry and local government staff for residues of pesticides and veterinary medicines and for a wide range of potentially toxic substances such as heavy metals, natural toxins and environmental contaminants. Details of the tests and statistics relating to them are not at present held centrally, but information on the surveillance of food imports is included in reports of the Government's steering group on food surveillance, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.Council directive 89/397/EEC on the official control of foodstuffs includes a requirement, from 1992, for some statistics on food law enforcement to be communicated to the Commission.