Minister for Rural Affairs 26.4.02


Safety Standards for Imported Beef

Alison Halford:

What steps are being taken to ensure all imported beef used in Wales meets the highest safety standards? (WAQ17209)

Transferred for answer by the Minister for Health and Social Services

The Minister for Health and Social Services (Jane Hutt):

Responsibility for the safety of food lies with the Minister of Health and Social Services, advised by the Food Standards Agency. All meat imports must be produced in accordance with European Union rules on hygiene and BSE. It is the responsibility of the relevant national authorities to ensure compliance with EU rules, but standards are checked by EU inspectors. Imports from non-EU countries must enter through designated border inspection posts. All consignments have a documentary and identity check, and around 20 per cent are subject to a random physical check. Meat from other EU states is not subject to border inspection because it is in ‘free circulation’ under EU single market rules. However, all imports of carcase beef from other EU countries are subject to inspection by the Meat Hygiene Service at point of destination: it is through these checks that breaches in EU controls on specified risk material have been detected. Such breaches are taken up vigorously with the authorities of the country concerned.

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