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Meat Imports

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of specified risk material have been detected in meat imports into the UK from the EU over the past year. [100580]

I have been asked to reply.Since 1 January 2002, there have been 33 cases where specified risk material has been found in imported meat. Each case has been reported to the veterinary authorities of the Member State of origin for appropriate action to be taken. Of these breaches, one consignment came from France, one from the Netherlands, four from the Republic of Ireland, 11 from Germany and 14 from Spain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she plans to take with regard to meat imports contaminated with specified risk materials. [100581]

I have been asked to reply.On the instructions of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Meat Hygiene Service continues to check at licensed premises every notified consignment of imported carcases beef for any presence of specified risk material (SRM). When SRM is found, the carcases affected are destroyed. The authorities of the exporting country and the European Commission are also informed.Further to this, the Chairman of the FSA has discussed the issue with the relevant European Commissioner (Commissioner Byrne). The United Kingdom has also instigated discussions at the European Union Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and at the EU Beef Management Committee. UK officials have also had profitable discussions at technical level with officials from the Member States concerned.