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Food: Imports

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government are taking to ensure that imported food meets the (a) quality, (b) hygiene, (c) safety and (d) animal welfare standards required from food producers in England. (228142)

Imports of products of animal origin from countries outside the EU must be checked at approved border inspection posts (BIPs), where they undergo veterinary checks before they are allowed to enter the EU.

Such products can only be imported from countries which are on the approved third country import list for that product. The products must be from establishments approved to export to the EU.

The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office is responsible for carrying out inspections of countries and the establishments that are approved to export to the EU, to ensure that they comply with EU hygiene requirements.

The World Trade Organisation rules do not allow us to ban imports on the grounds of the welfare standards applying in third countries.