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Animal Products (Imports)

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

As required under the Animal Health Act 1981, as amended by the Animal Health Act 2002, the Government will publish a review of controls on the import of animal products for the financial year 2007-08 on Thursday 24 July. I am pleased to be able to report on activity during the past year aimed at reducing the risk of disease entering the country via imports of animal products.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) remains committed to taking effective, proportionate, risk-based and intelligence-led enforcement measures to prevent illegal imports, and continues to target the routes that pose the greatest disease risk.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and HMRC continue to undertake a great deal of publicity within the United Kingdom, at the border and overseas. In January 2008 DEFRA relaunched the black and minority ethnic personal food imports campaign thus continuing to raise awareness of the personal import rules and also trying to encourage behavioural change so illegal food products are not brought in to the country.

DEFRA, with HMRC and the Food Standards Agency, has also used a wide range of other communication channels to promote our message. We will continue to monitor and assess the changing threats from around the world, and work with HMRC/United Kingdom Border Agency to make sure that our enforcement activity is targeted at the current risks.

Copies of the review will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses, and following publication on the DEFRA “personal food imports” website (www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/illegali), sent to stakeholders for information, seeking their feedback. Hard copies will also be available on request.