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Food Imports

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he plans to charge the importers of non-animal foodstuffs from outside the EU for the testing of their imports into the United Kingdom under the proposals in the EU document of 10 February I EC Draft 6090/03). [102848]

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has lead responsibility for this proposal on official feed and food controls. I am advised by the FSA that the proposal is for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council and as such, once adopted, its provisions will be directly applicable in all the Member States. This includes the provisions on imports from outside the European Union of foodstuffs of non-animal origin. The FSA's understanding of these provisions is that Member States will be required to collect fees for the costs incurred by the competent authorities from the importer or his customs agent. Clarification will be needed during the negotiations, which have not yet started. The FSA commenced a full public consultation on 12 March so that the views of all stakeholders may be taken into account in assessing the implications of the provisions and in developing the United Kingdom policy position on this and other issues arising from the proposal.