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Illegal Food Imports

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has allocated to tackling illegal food imports in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02, (c) 2002–03, (d) 2003–04, (e) 2004–05 and (f) 2005–06, broken down by category of activity. [112559]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: The Government are investing £25 million for the years 2003–06 to tackle illegal imports of meat, other animal products, plants and plant products. Of the £6 million allocated for 2003–04 Customs will receive £4m. This will help to fund:

Four new mobile anti-smuggling teams
An expansion of the detector dog programme from 2 to 6 Extra intelligence activity
A publicity campaign at ports and airports in the UK and overseas
The distribution of funding for the years 2004–05 and 2005–06 is the subject of negotiation between Defra, the Food Standards Agency and Customs.In previous years the lead enforcement authorities for tackling these illegal imports were Defra, Port Health Authorities and Local Authorities. Customs was not therefore in receipt of any funding for this activity.