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Animal Products (Import Controls)

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

The review of controls on the import of animal products for the financial year 2006-07 has been laid before Parliament today as required under the Animal Health Act 1981 (as amended by the Animal Health Act 2002). I welcome the opportunity to report on progress made in the past year to reduce the risk of disease entering the country via imports of animal products.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) continues to deliver an enforcement strategy that targets anti-smuggling activity on the highest risk traffic and to review deployment of resources and react flexibly in response to changes in the pattern of risk.

Seizures of illegally imported animal products have again increased when compared to previous years (35,001 between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007, approximately a 7 per cent. increase on the equivalent period from 2005-06), reflecting the enforcement measures in place, and we recognise that these efforts must be maintained.

There continues to be a joined-up approach across Government Departments on the overall communications strategy. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will continue with its ongoing publicity campaign with a change of emphasis, taking into account levels of public awareness and seizure information. HMRC will continue to promote the products of animal origin (POAO) personal import rules through a wide range of communication channels, as well as seeking new opportunities for media publicity.

We continue to enhance our understanding of the risks from illegal imports of POAO, as well as monitoring and assessing the changing threats from around the world.

Copies of the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses, on the DEFRA ‘personal food imports’ website at:, and sent to stakeholders for information seeking their feedback. Hard copies will also be available on request.