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Illegal Food Imports

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions for illegal food imports into the UK there have been in the last five years. [114884]

Figures for prosecutions prior to the transfer on 11 April 2003 of all anti-smuggling controls to Customs, are not held centrally. We are aware of one successful prosecution brought by Crawley Borough Council in July 2002. In September 2001, Customs brought a prosecution for the illegal importation of bushmeat derived from endangered species. The offender was found not guilty of these offences, but was, however, found guilty of an offence under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) Regulations. The Corporation of London Port Health Authority issued six cautions in October 2002.

HM Customs and Excise, who took responsibility for anti-smuggling controls on meat from 11 April 2003, will prosecute in the most serious cases.