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Agricultural Products: Smuggling

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on (a) leaflets, (b) posters, (c) other advertising, (d) the branded mobile unit and (e) merchandising to support outreach activity on the risk from illegal imports of products of animal origin in each year since 2001. (185647)

The following figures refer to money spent by DEFRA:

Leaflets and posters (including printing and distribution)

£

2002-03

421,000

2004-05

37,991

2005-06

28,906

2006-07

28,013

2007-08

27,926

Other advertising (including press, radio, television, internet and outdoor)

£

2004-05

334,189

2005-06

243,853

2006-07

361,521

2007-08

354,738

Outreach activity and other community events (including production of the mobile unit plus mileage (although from 2007-08 the branded mobile unit is no longer being used during the outreach activity),production of branding banners and printing of T-shirts for staff)

£

2004-05

76,286

2005-06

57,178

2006-07

70,538

2007-08

57,967

Merchandising to support outreach activity (travel wallets, pens and toothbrush kits)

£

2004-05

0

2005-06

0

2006-07

17,010

2007-08

8,235

Since April 2003, HM Revenue and Customs has also undertaken a number of publicity activities as part of its Products Of Animal Origin (POAO) anti-smuggling responsibilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the amount of illegally imported meat entering the UK which was (a) contaminated with virus and (b) not detected in the last 12 months. (185709)

The endemic nature of exotic diseases in many countries around the world results in a continuous but low risk of infected meat reaching the country through illegal routes. This means that all such seizures are treated as an animal health risk and destroyed, by incineration, in the shortest possible time.

The risk of disease relates to the possibility that animals may consume infectious material in illegal imports. Very small amounts of infectious material may cause disease and are likely to form only a very small proportion of any illegal import. There is thus very little chance of finding infected material by testing samples. Discovering whether any individual seizure is infected is unlikely to contribute significantly to the way that the restrictions relating to imports are enforced.

It is not possible to make an accurate estimate of the amount of illegally imported meat entering the UK which was not detected in the last 12 months because they are illegal and, therefore, clandestine.