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Illegal Meat Imports

Volume 402: debated on Friday 4 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) training and (b) technical advice has been provided by her Department to officers of Customs and Excise who are due to take over responsibility for anti-smuggling controls on illegal imports of meat from 11 April. [106107]

[holding answer 31 March 2003]: Defra is working with Port Health Authorities and HM Customs and Excise to ensure Customs have the resources and knowledge to fulfil their new role. Detailed tables of products, countries and allowances have been prepared by Defra for use by Customs officers working in passenger terminals, postal depots and with cargo. Defra has provided guidance to Local and Port Health Authorities on Customs' new role and is contributing to HM Customs guidance to their officers. Defra has, since last autumn, paid for additional staff to carry out checks on illegal meat and plant imports at major ports and airports. These staff will be retained for an interim period from 11 to 30 April to give technical support to Customs officers on their new responsibilities.