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Food: Imports

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 7 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the quality standards of food proposed to be imported to the UK; and if he will make a statement. (325280)

I have been asked to reply.

We have been advised by the Food Standards Agency that official controls are in place to monitor food imports from countries outside the European Union (EU) and to ensure it is safe. Products of animal origin such as meat from approved countries outside the EU must come from approved establishments. Such products must enter the United Kingdom through designated Border Inspection Posts under the control of veterinary inspectors, where they undergo documentary and identity checks, and a prescribed proportion are subject to physical checks which may include testing for contaminants.

Food of non-animal origin is also subject to checks by authorised officers and, in addition, depending on its source and whether it is regarded as high risk, may undergo stringent checks to ensure it is safe for human consumption.