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Clenbuterol

Volume 226: debated on Wednesday 16 June 1993

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 7 June, Official Report, column 30, if she will make a statement on the abuse of clenbuterol outside Great Britain.

I am aware of reports from other member states which allege that clenbuterol is being used illegally for growth promotion purposes. Ministers spoke to their counterparts in the Irish and Belgian Governments about these reports at the time and received assurances that every effort was being made to stamp out the misuse of this substance. The authorities concerned can be confident of our full support in their efforts to this end.

Nevertheless surveillance for clenbuterol in imported meat has been increased this year as indicated in my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Bates) on 2 March 1993 at columns 78–9.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the number of recorded incidents of clenbuterol abuse in each EC member state for each of the last three years.

In the United Kingdom over the past three years, 1,780 random samples taken under the national surveillance scheme from cattle, sheep and pigs have been analysed for the presence of clenbuterol. No positives have been found under this scheme for clenbuterol in Great Britain, but as indicated in my reply to the Member for Glandford and Scunthorpe on 7 June (Official Report, column 29–30), two clenbuterol positive samples were reported in 1992 from samples taken under the separate arrangements directed at retail and wholesale premises.In Northern Ireland three positives were found in 1991 (two in 1992) under the national surveillance scheme random sampling arrangements. In addition under intensive meat sampling procedures which have operated in Northern Ireland since 1991, and which are capable of detecting residue traces up to 120 days after administration has ceased, 965 suspect animals were detained and tested in 1991 (1,482 in 1992) of which 68 were found positive (112 in 1992) involving 28 producers (32 in 1992) out of a total of 36,000 producer herds. All levels detected were below the maximum residue level and thus presented no risk to human health. Nevertheless all carcases were condemned as the drug was used in unlicensed form.I regret that comparable information from other member states is not available from the EC Commission.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many incidents of clenbuterol abuse in meat imported into Britain from non-EC countries were recorded in each of the last three years.

Ongoing surveillance in Great Britain for clenbuterol in imported meat is carried out under a scheme, co-ordinated by the working party on veterinary residues in animal products, which is directed at retail and wholesale premises. All of the samples taken under the scheme since it was established in January 1990, from meat imported into Britain from non-EC countries and tested for the presence of clenbuterol, have proved to be negative.