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Brazilian Beef

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many beef carcases from Brazil were tested for disease in each of the last 10 years, broker down by type of disease; and what proportion were found to pose a health risk. [116856]

There are no provisions for beef imported from Brazil or any other approved countries to be routinely tested for disease. Other controls are designed to prevent serious exotic diseases entering the country via imported meat.All meat imported from third countries must be accompanied by official veterinary certification. This must confirm that the meat is derived from animals which have been subjected to a veterinary inspection during the 24 hours prior to slaughter and showed no signs of diseases. Meat from Brazil must have been matured and tested to confirm that it has reached a sufficiently low pH (acidity) and then de-boned so as to remove any risk of the FMD virus being present. Whole carcase meat and bone-in cuts are not permitted.European Community law requires that all meat imported into the UK from third countries must enter at designated Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) where it is subject to veterinary inspections. All consignments are subject to documentary and identity checks and at least 20 per cent. of consignments undergo physical checks, which may include taking a sample for testing. It is the responsibility of the Official Veterinary Surgeon to decide what type of test might be carried out. These checks ensure import conditions are met and that the products remain in a satisfactory condition during transport.