Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Press Release (2001/0108), 3 May 2001

ENFORCEMENT - Food Standards Agency Acts on Illegal Food Imports

The Food Standards Agency has moved swiftly to clamp down on illegal food imports and is playing a full part in government's wider consideration of illegal imports, David Statham, FSA Director of Enforcement and Food Standards stated today. The action taken by the Agency so far includes:

David Statham, who recently visited the Border Inspection Post at Heathrow Airport to see the enforcement first-hand explained:

These initiatives are part of the Agency's specific contribution to the Government's wider consideration of the current systems in place to ensure that national and EU controls on food imports are as effective as possible. Allegations of illegal imports of meat are to be investigated by a joint government task force which is led by MAFF. The task force also consists of the Food Standards Agency and representatives of enforcement authorities - the Association of Port Health Authorities, LACOTS and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and is investigating the scale of the problems that may be posed by illegal meat imports.

Agriculture Minister Joyce Quin, heading the joint government taskforce on illegal imports, welcomed the investigations by the Food Standards Agency. She said:

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for matters of food safety in relation to imported foods. The Agency is responsible for (either solely or with MAFF ) for UK regulations governing food safety controls on imported foods and is responsible for advising port health authorities on checks which should be carried out on imported foods.

The Imported Food Regulations 1997 consolidate similar regulations made in 1984, and take into account the 1990 Food Safety Act and EC Single Market legislation. They contain measures for the protection of public health in relation to food products of non-animal origin entering the EU from third countries - that is, products from third countries which are not subject to the veterinary checks imposed under the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996 (as amended).

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