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Illegal Meat Imports

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2003, Official Report, column 380W, what additional resources the Government are making available at ports to prevent the importation of substandard meat and bushmeat into the UK. [98372]

The Government have made available a total of £25 million over the next three financial years to tackle illegal imports from outside the European Union of any meat, other animal products and plant products. Following the Cabinet Office review of enforcement structures, final decisions on the allocation of this money will be made once consultations with HM Customs and Excise and the FSA have concluded.Action against illegal imports is not limited to substandard meat and bushmeat, nor will it be limited to ports and airports. It is in addition to the requirement to pre-notify all commercial imports of meat and products of animal origin and present them to a Border Inspection Post for veterinary checks.In the current financial year, additional measures have been introduced at ports and airports to tackle illegal imports. Additional temporary agency staff have been recruited to carry out checks to detect smuggled goods—teams of six are based at our major airports and teams of two at major seaports. We are also paying for additional checks through overtime elsewhere. Additional inspection resources have also been provided through the detector dog pilot, and a publicity campaign which has targeted both ports and airports and travellers before they leave.